Valtrex, also known as Valacyclovir, is a drug that is active against specific viruses that may produce diseases, such as the herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2, and the varicella zoster virus. Valtrex is mainly used as treatment for oral and genital herpes and shingles, although medical research has revealed that it can also reduce the severity of symptoms in individuals infected by Epstein-Barr virus, which may cause mononucleosis, and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
What is Valacyclovir?
Valacyclovir is closely related to another antiviral medication called acyclovir in terms of the chemical structure. In fact, once ingested, Valacyclovir is converted to acyclovir in the liver. The reason why pharmaceutical experts decided to administer valacyclovir tablets instead of directly using acyclovir is the greater oral bioavailability of the first drug. Up to 55 percent of the ingested valacyclovir will reach the bloodstream from where it will be transported to different tissues in the body to exert its antiviral effects, while only 10 to 20 percent of acyclovir will be absorbed effectively in the bloodstream.
How does Valtrex 500mg work to diminish the signs of viral infections like herpes or varicella zoster?
Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is administered in the form of tablets, and about half of the ingested drug successfully reaches the bloodstream. However, valacyclovir is not active, and requires the conversion to acyclovir, which takes place in the liver. The active derivative possesses all the necessary antiviral properties, which consist in the inhibition of the viral DNA polymerase. The drug has little effects on the human DNA polymerase, which is why it selectively blocks the multiplication and spreading of the sensitive viruses, while having little influence on the cellular activity. The duration of antiviral effects is anywhere from 2 to 5 hours because the drug is rapidly metabolized and eliminated from the body, which means that a regular, frequent administration may be necessary according to specific medical recommendations formulated by your doctor. Valtrex is active only during the active phases of a viral infection, and it has no effects on the latent, dormant viruses that reside in the nerve ganglia. Valtrex has been officially tested and approved for herpes infection treatment, varicella zoster, but also as a prevention strategy to avoid a CMV infection in individuals who underwent an organ transplant. Treating mononucleosis with Valtrex is also possible, although it is still an area of intensive research.
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Any Possible Side effects?
Severe side effects following Valacyclovir administration are rare, but you should report any unpleasant adverse effects to your doctor. Common, mild side effects may include temporary nausea, headaches or diarrhea. Use Valtrex only as prescribed by your doctor according to the recommended dosage and administration schedule.
General Practitioner. I worked in hospitals in Melbourne and Sydney.