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Although most people tolerate Valtrex without problems, side effects may still occur. Possible side effects include headaches, nausea, and depression. These side effects are usually minor and easily treated. However, some side effects of Valtrex should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider, such as decreased urination, vision changes, or an unexplained skin rash. Rare side effects include diarrhea, hair loss, or kidney failure.

An Introduction to Valtrex Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Valtrex® (valacyclovir hydrochloride). However, not everyone who takes this drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
 
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Valtrex. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Valtrex side effects with you.)
 

Common Side Effects of Valtrex

Valtrex has been thoroughly studied in clinical trials, with many people being evaluated. In these studies, side effects occurring in the group of people taking the drug are always documented and compared to the side effects that occur in a similar group of people not taking the medicine. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur and how often they appear.
 
Based on these studies, the most common Valtrex side effects included:
 
  • Headache -- occurring in up to 38 percent of people
  • Nausea -- in up to 15 percent
  • Abdominal pain (or stomach pain) -- in up to 11 percent
  • Painful menstrual periods -- in up to 8 percent
  • Depression -- in up to 7 percent (see Valtrex and Depression)
  • Vomiting -- in up to 6 percent
  • Joint pain -- in up to 6 percent
  • Increased liver enzymes -- in up to 4.1 percent
  • Dizziness -- in up to 4 percent.
     
People with HIV who take Valtrex may have additional side effects or side effects that occur more frequently. Other common side effects include an unexplained rash, fatigue, and decreased blood counts.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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