What is valacyclovir hydrochloride?
Valacyclovir hydrochloride is anprescription medicine approved by the U.S. (FDA) to:
- Treat and/or prevent certain types of infections, including genital herpes (genital lesions) and cold sores (herpes labialis)
- Reduce the risk of transmitting genital herpes to other people
- Treat (VZV) infections, including chicken pox ( ) and (herpes zoster)
HSV and VZV infections can be What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.(OIs) of HIV. An OI is an that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened —such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the HIVinfo
How is valacyclovir hydrochloride used in people with HIV?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV include recommendations on the uses of valacyclovir hydrochloride in people with HIV to:
- HSV infections, including cold sores and genital lesions
- VZV infections, including chicken pox, , and (an inflammatory condition that can damage or destroy the of the eye)
- Chicken pox from occurring in certain people who come in contact with someone who has active shingles or chicken pox
- Cold sores and genital lesions caused by HSV infection from recurring
The recommended uses may not always be consistent with FDA-approved uses of valacyclovir hydrochloride. See the Adult and Pediatric guidelines for complete information on recommended uses of valacyclovir hydrochloride in adults and adolescents with HIV. Valacyclovir hydrochloride may have other recommended uses not listed above.
What should I tell my health care provider before taking valacyclovir hydrochloride?
Before taking valacyclovir hydrochloride, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to valacyclovir hydrochloride or any other medicines.
- About any medical conditions you have or have had, particularly bone marrow or transplant or kidney problems, including if you receive dialysis.
- About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take pills.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of taking valacyclovir hydrochloride during pregnancy.
- If you are breast/chestfeeding or plan to breast/chestfeed. For people with HIV in the United States, the Guideline recommends speaking with your health care provider to discuss options for feeding your baby. People with suppressed viral load have a less than 1% chance of transmitting HIV to their baby via their own milk.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Valacyclovir hydrochloride may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how valacyclovir hydrochloride works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between valacyclovir hydrochloride and the other medicines you take.
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from valacyclovir hydrochloride. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
How should I take valacyclovir hydrochloride?
Take valacyclovir hydrochloride according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much valacyclovir hydrochloride to take and when to take it. Before you start valacyclovir hydrochloride and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How should valacyclovir hydrochloride be stored?
- Store valacyclovir hydrochloride tablets at room temperature, 59°F to 77°F (15°C to 25°C).
- Store valacyclovir hydrochloride suspension between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) in a refrigerator. Discard after 28 days.
- Keep valacyclovir hydrochloride in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
- Do not use valacyclovir hydrochloride if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
- Throw away valacyclovir hydrochloride that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
- Keep valacyclovir hydrochloride and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about valacyclovir hydrochloride?
- Recommendations on the HIV-related uses of valacyclovir hydrochloride, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV.
- This Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet (film-coated). The Patient Package Insert includes information for people taking valacyclovir hydrochloride.
- The American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS) Patient Medication Information for valacyclovir available from MedlinePlus.
- Valacyclovir hydrochloride-related research studies, from ClinicalTrials.gov. (The ClinicalTrials.gov search can be modified so that you can get results that better match your interests. To learn more about the ClinicalTrials.gov search features, please see How to Search.)
Last Reviewed: April 10, 2023