Valtrex is a tablet medication indicated for the treatment and prevention of HSV (herpes simplex virus), which can cause genital herpes.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.

Valtrex is one of the oldest and most widely-known medications for genital herpes in the industry. It is made by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and is adept at treating numerous strains of the herpes virus, which, in the case of HSV types 1 and 2, can cause oral and genital sores, and blisters. It is efficient at treating new cases of infection, and reducing the time it takes someone to recover. It can be also be applied in cases where someone suspects they may be about to experience a reactivation of the virus, and serves to limit the extent of symptoms.

  1. Popular and widely-used treatment for herpes
  2. Tackles symptoms before they happen
  3. Helps those with a weakened immune system

Herpes simplex virus is spread through contact with the sores and blisters associated with the condition. Oral cases of the virus may be transferred from one individual to another through the used of shared glassware or other utensils; whereas genital instances are more typically communicated through sexual contact.

Once the virus has established a presence in a person’s body, it remains there permanently, but tends to remain inactive for long periods following initial infection. Months or even years may pass between recurrent outbreaks, and these may not occur as often as a person gets older.

The condition is not uncommon. In 2015, over 30,000 new cases of genital herpes were reported in the UK. Because herpes is incurable, medication for the condition concentrates on reducing the duration and severity of outbreaks.

Valtrex contains valaciclovir, an agent which is activated in the body by certain enzymes, and provides assistance to the immune system. When the medication gets to work, this ingredient is converted into an antiviral substance called aciclovir. This fights the virus by disabling its capacity for reproduction. It does this by restricting the function of an enzyme, DNA polymerase, which enables the virus to double itself and multiply. Unable to grow further, the virus is then fought into a state of inactivity by antibodies.

The treatment is a viable option for both those experiencing an episode as well as those seeking to prevent imminent reactivation. The strength of this medicine makes it a popular choice for those who have weakened immunity.

Please note that we do not offer this particular treatment through our site. If you think you require treatment for herpes, speak to your doctor. They will be able to issue a prescription if they deem it necessary.

Active Ingredient

The functioning component in Valtrex is a substance called valaciclovir. This is an antiviral agent which is transformed into aciclovir when it comes into contact with the body’s metabolic system. Aciclovir is a widely-used medication which tackles herpes by disabling its capacity to grow.

In order to multiply, the herpes virus requires the synthesis of an enzyme, DNA polymerase. Aciclovir interferes with this process, halting the advancement of the virus. No longer able to progress, the virus is then dealt with by the immune system. This is followed by a period of remission.

Page last reviewed:  24/05/2017


To get the most out of Valtrex, you should adhere to the guidelines given to you by your doctor. Always fully acquaint yourself with the patient information leaflet before using any medicine, so that you know how to use it. This will help you to limit the risk of side effects:

  1. Take Valtrex tablets whole, with a glass of water.
  2. Take as prescribed by your doctor. This might be 1 or 2 tablets twice a day for genital herpes.
  3. These tablets do not need to be taken with food.
  4. Ensure you take Valtrex at the same times each day.
  5. Do not double up on your following dose if you neglect to take one. Carry on taking the medicine as normal.
  6. You should never take more than the amount indicated by your doctor.

Check with your doctor if you are unsure about any aspect related to the application of this medicine.

Download Valtrex patient information leaflet

Page last reviewed:  24/05/2017
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Side effects & Warnings

Side effects

Please be aware that side effects are an unavoidable risk when it comes to most medicines. Although they may only occur in a minority of cases, it is good to familiarise yourself with them so that you can seek advice if necessary.

Common (1 in 10 people or more):

Uncommon (1 in 100 people):
Difficulty breathing, skin rash, increased sensitivity to sunlight, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhoea.

Rare (1 in 1000 people):
Dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, impaired consciousness, abdominal discomfort, vomiting.

Very rare (1 in 10000 people):
Coordination problems, convulsions, delirium, unconsciousness.

Those side effects listed here do not make up a comprehensive list. For more detailed information please refer to the leaflet provided with the medicine or ask your prescriber.


Taking it with other medicines

Always disclose your medical history to your prescriber before purchasing and using any medicine. Tell your doctor if you take any of the following medicines, as they may affect your capacity to use Valtrex: probenecid, cimetidine, tacrolimus, ciclosporin, or mycophenolate mofetil. Never use Valtrex in addition to any other medications for herpes, unless otherwise instructed by a doctor.

Conditions to look out for

If you suffer from liver or kidney disease, then you may not be able to use this medicine.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or think you could be pregnant, speak to your doctor prior to taking Valtrex. It is not usually recommended for use during pregnancy.

Driving and machinery

You should refrain from driving or operating machines if you notice any side effects that could interfere with your ability to do so.

Page last reviewed:  24/05/2017
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:


Can I still drink alcohol?

You can. Alcohol should not decrease the efficacy of the this treatment. But you should ensure you only drink in sensible amounts so that the application of your medicine is not impaired.

Will I still be able to drive?

Some side effects associated with the medicine may inhibit your ability to drive. If you experience these, do not drive and seek medical advice immediately.

Can I take the medicine while pregnant?

This treatment may harm you or your baby if you use it during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. You should not use this medicine under these circumstances unless your doctor deems it entirely necessary.

How should I store it?

Out of the reach of children, away from sources of moisture and direct sunlight, and below 30°C.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

Contained in this medicine are the following ingredients: valaciclovir, microcrystalline cellulose, crospovidone, povidone, magnesium stearate, silica colloidal anhydrous, hypromellose, titanium dioxide, macrogol 400, polysorbate 80 and carnauba wax. If you suspect that any of these may trigger an allergic reaction, refrain from using this medicine and speak to a doctor about alternative treatment.

Is it available over-the-counter?

It is not. You will require a doctor’s prescription in order to purchase this medication.

Is it right for me?

You should visit your doctor or local sexual health clinic to find out. If they think that treatment is necessary, they will issue the most appropriate prescription.

Please be aware that you cannot buy this treatment from our online clinic.


Page last reviewed:  24/05/2017
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