Primary Valtrex uses include treating shingles, cold sores, and genital herpes. When taken daily, the drug can help prevent genital herpes outbreaks from occurring and can prevent the virus from spreading to sexual partners. When Valtrex is used to treat shingles or cold sores, it can help the rash or sores to heal more quickly, but it cannot cure these conditions.
An Overview of Valtrex UsesValtrex® (valacyclovir hydrochloride) is a prescription medicine licensed to treat several conditions related to infections with the herpes virus. These Valtrex uses include:
- Treating shingles
- Treating cold sores
- Treating genital herpes
- Treating chickenpox
- Preventing recurrent genital herpes outbreaks
- Decreasing the spread of herpes to sexual partners.
Valtrex Uses for Shingles
Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is caused by a virus (the varicella zoster virus). It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Most people are infected with this virus as children. However, the body never completely gets rid of the virus, and the virus remains inactive in certain nerve cells. Later in life, often triggered by stress or illness, the virus can become active again, causing shingles.
Symptoms of shingles may include a rash (usually on only one side of the body) and burning or tingling pain. Usually, the rash forms blisters that may break and ooze. If this happens, you may be able to spread the "shingles virus" to people who have never had chickenpox. Shingles pain can be severe and can continue long after the rash is gone (known medically as postherpetic neuralgia).
(Click Shingles Symptoms for more information about signs and symptoms of shingles.)
When Valtrex is used to treat shingles, it will help the rash heal more quickly. However, it will not change the length or severity of postherpetic neuralgia. Nor is Valtrex a cure for shingles, as the virus will always remain in your body and may become active again.