Valtrex is the brand name for the drug Valacyclovir hydrochloride which is anti-viral drug used in treating several types of viral diseases. In adults, it is mainly used to treat wet sores around the mouth and shingles caused by herpes zoster. In children, it is prescribed in the treatment of cold sores around the mouth caused by herpes simplex and chicken pox caused by varicella zoster. It may also be used in the treatment of cytomegalovirus which mainly affects immune-compromised persons. No matter what use it is put into, valtrex is a prescription-only drug which should never be taken without a doctor’s prescription as it may have some serious side effects.
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Valtrex is taken orally in doses prescribed depending on the condition, age and weight of a person. Once it gets into the body, it acts by mimicking one of the building blocks of DNA. Valacyclovir is a prodrug and is not active in the form in which it is manufactured and reaches the body. On reaching the lover and small intestines in the body, it is converted into acyclovirin which is the active form that acts against viruses in the body. This is similar or analogous to one of the metabolites necessary for the assembly of the viral genetic material chains. It is therefore able to interact with the enzyme needed for this process thanks to its similar morphology. This enzyme is the viral DNA polymerase which has a higher affinity for valtrex than the host cell DNA polymerase. Thymidine kinase is yet another viral enzyme needed by these viruses to replicate normally which has a high affinity for valtrex. Generally, valtrex is able to stop the replication of viral materials by stopping the uptake of metabolites necessary for the process by getting in the way.
To be noted is that the drug will not directly attack nor kill the viruses. All it does is stop their replication or multiplication. The viruses still live in the body but do not but their effects are decreased greatly and the lengths of outbreaks are reduced greatly. The symptomatic effects of the viral infections such as the sores are dealt with efficiently with the use of valtrex. The sores heal faster and the pain and itching reduces greatly. Like all other viral diseases however, those for which this drug is prescribed remain without an absolute cure. It only boosts the body’s immune system and its ability to fight off the current and future infections effectively.
General Practitioner. I worked in hospitals in Melbourne and Sydney.