Order Consultation for Genital Herpes Treatment
Valaciclovir is an antiviral treatment for genital herpes. It can be taken to treat an acute herpes outbreak or prevent recurrent outbreaks.
To place an order, fill in our brief questionnaire. You can choose a preferred treatment, such as Valaciclovir.
One of our doctors will check if the medication is suitable for you and issue your prescription to a local pharmacy in Ireland or your home address. Alternatively, you can choose to have your medication delivered directly to your door.
A consultation for genital herpes treatment prescription costs €21.50.
What is Valaciclovir?
Valaciclovir is an antiviral medicine used to treat genital herpes, cold sores, chickenpox and shingles. However, it is not a cure: there is no current cure for genital herpes. The virus can only be suppressed so that the virus remains in a dormant state and no further symptoms are experienced. The herpes virus can never be completely destroyed. Valaciclovir will work on both HSV 1 and 2, which are cold sores and genital herpes respectively.
You can test to see if you have genital herpes using our home test kit.
What does Valaciclovir do?
After someone is infected with the herpes virus, it can hide in the body in an inactive state, and can remain so for months or years. It’s only when the virus activates that you experience the symptoms of the infection. In the active state of the virus, it starts to replicate, and when enough of the virus is present you start to get symptoms. Valaciclovir stops the virus from replicating.
How effective is Valaciclovir at treating genital herpes?
So long as you take Valaciclovir as instructed, it should control the spread and extent of your genital herpes. It works best if started within the first 24 hours of the first symptoms of an outbreak, but can still help if taken within the first 5 days. Genital herpes can’t be completely cured, because the virus can’t be totally eliminated; only the severity of the symptoms and the spread of the virus can be controlled.
Who usually takes Valaciclovir?
Men and women can take Valaciclovir unless they take any of the medicines or suffer any of the conditions listed in the “Warnings” section. Herpes outbreaks can affect people of any age, but the majority of patients experiencing their first episode of herpes are under the age of 30.
How will I know if I have genital herpes?
Most people realise that they have genital herpes because they start to notice symptoms related to herpes. You may experience symptoms such as fever, nausea, aching muscle and pain during urination. Abnormal vaginal discharge can be another symptom of genital herpes in women, as well as inflammation of the womb.
The main symptom of genital herpes is blistered and itchy skin. In women, blisters may appear around the vagina, thighs, anus and buttocks. In males, blisters may appear on the penis, scrotum, thighs, buttocks and anus. In addition to this, oral sex can result in genital herpes in the tongue and lips, however this is quite rare.
When should I start Valaciclovir treatment?
You should start within the first 5 days of symptoms arising, but ideally within the first 24 hours: this will mean that Valaciclovir can start working as early as possible so that the symptoms don’t get worse. You can start the treatment as soon as you start to feel the first symptoms - for example burning or tingling of the skin, before a blister appears.
Do I still need to complete treatment even if the symptoms clear up?
Yes. This is really important as it will reduce the risk of you suffering recurring infections.
Can I still have intercourse during treatment?
This is not advisable. This will put your partner at risk of genital herpes too. People often overlook the fact that oral and anal sex can also result in the transmission of genital herpes as well. If you do have sexual intercourse, it must be protected. You should always use a condom.
Can I drink whilst taking Valaciclovir?
Alcohol does not interact with Valaciclovir. This means that you can drink whilst taking this treatment.
Do I need a prescription?
Yes. You can get this online with ZAVA, provided you are suitable for the treatment.
Is HSV anything to do with HIV?
HSV and HIV are separate viruses. Genital herpes doesn’t cause long term harm if you receive the correct treatment as soon as possible.
However, the presence of genital herpes may put you at increased risk of getting HIV if you have sexual contact with someone who has HIV. You should speak to your doctor about risks and prevention if you are concerned.
How do I know if my treatment is working?
You should notice that the symptoms, if any, should disappear and the blistering will die down while you’re taking the treatment. If you’re still getting new blisters after finishing the treatment you should see your doctor.
How does Valaciclovir compare to other genital herpes treatments?
All the antiviral treatments for genital herpes have the same effectiveness. Aciclovir, valaciclovir, and famciclovir, respectively sold as Zovirax, Valtrex, and Famvir, are the other treatments.
The advantage of valaciclovir over aciclovir is that the tablets only need to be taken twice a day to treat an outbreak and there are some reports that patients experience fewer/less extreme side effects compared to the other genital herpes medications. This is what makes it slightly more expensive.
What is the best way to prevent genital herpes?
Protection is the most important prevention method. You should always use a condom, particularly with a new partner. Genital herpes cannot be cured and it is likely that infections will recur throughout life, so protection is particularly important.
What other names might I come across for Valaciclovir?
The most common brand name for valaciclovir is Valtrex.
What do the tablets look like?
The tablets are oval and white with “VC1” marked on 250mg tablets, “VC2” marked on 500mg tablets and “VC3” marked on 1000mg tablets.
What you should know before taking Valaciclovir
You must not take Valaciclovir if you’re allergic to any of the tablet ingredients, or:
- are over 65
- have kidney problems
- have liver problems
- have a weak immune system
Make sure you don’t become dehydrated whilst taking Valaciclovir by drinking water.
You must tell your doctor if you are on any of the following medications before taking Valaciclovir:
- Non-prescription herbal medicines
- Medicines that affect the kidneys. These include: aminoglycosides, organoplatinum compounds, iodinated contrast media, methotrexate, pentamidine, foscarnet, ciclosporin, tacrolimus, cimetidine and probenecid.
Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding and wish to take Valaciclovir.
You should not drive or operate heavy machinery if you feel dizzy or sleepy whilst on Valaciclovir medication.
What dosage of Valaciclovir should I take?
The dose of Valaciclovir you need to take will depend on whether this is the first time you have had an outbreak, if this is a recurring outbreak or if you are taking it to try to prevent outbreaks.
If this is your first outbreak, you should take one 500mg tablet twice a day for 5 to 10 days. If, after the first 5 days you are still getting new sores you can continue to take the tablets for 10 days. Your doctor will advise you of your treatment plan, so it is important to follow their instruction. For recurring outbreaks, the treatment plan is usually the same, but you would only need to take the tablets for 3 to 5 days.
To prevent outbreaks you can use Valaciclovir for suppression, which is where you take one tablet of Valaciclovir 500mg every day for 6-12 months.
If you overdose, you must seek medical assistance.
If you miss a dose, do not double dose the next time. Simply continue with the treatment as normal from the next dose.
You must drink a lot of fluids whilst taking Valaciclovir and wear sun cream as your skin is more sensitive to UV light when taking Valaciclovir.
What does Valaciclovir contain?
Valaciclovir is the active ingredient in Valtrex tablets. Each tablet contains either 250mg, 500mg or 1000mg valaciclovir (as Valaciclovir hydrochloride monohydrate). The other ingredients are tablet are cellulose microcrystalline, povidone, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, titanium dioxide (E171), macrogol 400,and hypromellose.
Valaciclovir side effects
If you experience a serious allergic reaction (symptoms are facial swelling, itchy skin and difficulty breathing), stop taking valaciclovir immediately and seek medical assistance.
- Rashes and itching
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling drowsy
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach discomfort
- Hive like rash
- Blood in the urine
- Reduction in number of white blood cells
- Reduced platelet count
- Increased substances produced by the liver
- Unsteadiness whilst walking/lack of coordination
- Slow/slurred speech
- Altered brain function
- Disturbed thoughts
- Altered kidney function
You should always consult your doctor if you experience any of these side effects, or any other changes.
Dr Kathryn Basford
Dr Kathryn Basford is an IMC and GMC registered GP who works with our Irish team here at ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training at Whipps Cross Hospital in London.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 06 Jan 2021