What is Valaciclovir?
Valaciclovir is an antiviral tablet which is used to treat infections from the herpes simplex virus (HSV). If taken at the first sign of an outbreak, it can cut the outbreak short or stop it completely. It simply involves taking a tablets twice per day, and so is a straightforward and convenient treatment.
There are two types of herpes infections. HSV-1 causes cold sores around the mouth. HSV-2 causes genital herpes. Valaciclovir is highly effective against both strains of the virus. The HSV causes blisters and scabs on the mucous tissues of the mouth and genitals. Valaciclovir helps existing blisters to heal and prevents the virus from spreading.
Valaciclovir is closely related to aciclovir, another antiviral tablet. In fact, the Valaciclovir tablet is converted into aciclovir when it is metabolised. This makes Valaciclovir a prodrug. It attacks the HSV in the same way as aciclovir, but delivers the antiviral agent more efficiently. This means that fewer capsules need to be taken.
The branded version of Valaciclovir is called Valtrex. The active ingredient in each is identical, but unbranded Valaciclovir is significantly cheaper. Valtrex previously had the patent and rights to exclusive distribution of Valaciclovir, but that patent has since expired. There is now very little difference between the two, apart from appearance, packaging and inactive ingredients. At The Independent Pharmacy, we still provide Valtrex, because some patients prefer a branded version even if it contains an identical active ingredient.
Some non-prescription alternatives for treating a Genital Herpes outbreak include;
- Cleaning the area with water or salt water to promote healing
- Avoid wearing tight clothing
- Use pain relief such as paracetamol
- Try to avoid your known outbreak triggers such as excess alcohol.
- Use Vaseline on the blisters to promote healing and relieve pain.