Herpes Home > Valtrex

Valtrex is used to treat conditions related to the herpes virus, including shingles, cold sores, chickenpox, and genital herpes. The drug helps the body fight the infection by preventing the virus from multiplying. It also can help the outbreak to heal quicker. Potential side effects of Valtrex include a headache, nausea, and depression. It is important to take the medication as prescribed in order for it to work properly.

What Is Valtrex?

Valtrex® (valacyclovir hydrochloride) is a prescription medication licensed to treat several conditions related to infections with the herpes virus, including:

Who Makes Valtrex?

Valtrex is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

What Is It Used For?

Uses of the drug include:
  • Treating shingles in adults
  • Treating cold sores in adults and children
  • Treating chickenpox in children 
  • Treating genital herpes in adults
  • Preventing recurrent genital herpes outbreaks in adults
  • Decreasing the spread of herpes to sexual partners in adults.
Valtrex is not a cure for shingles, genital herpes, or cold sores.
(Click Valtrex Uses for more information on what it is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

How Does It Work?

Shingles, cold sores, chickenpox, and genital herpes are caused by viruses. Once a person has been infected with these viruses, the virus never goes away. It remains inactive in certain nerve cells of the body, waiting to become active again. Valtrex helps the body fight the infection by preventing the virus from multiplying. When used to treat genital herpes, the drug can help prevent outbreaks from recurring and can help prevent the spread of the virus to other people.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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