Valacyclovir 101: The Ultimate Guide To Curing Herpes, Valtrex & More
This guide condenses all the best knowledge available online about herpes simplex virus with most focus on how to treat genital herpes (HSV-2).
And…if you've just been diagnosed… know:
“IT'S GOING TO BE OK 👌”
You'll learn about the best available prescription medication available now like — valtrex, acyclovir, zovirax, famciclovir…
I will also discuss the best over the counter herpes treatment options, a natural medication that promises to treat herpes outbreaks and symptoms without putting chemicals in your body… and you can get them easily on Amazon.
Finally I've included other reader stories & best advice on treating and living with herpes to have a full-rounded picture for you from both scientific and day-to-day normal people sources.
Make sure you stick around till the end for them.
They are 🔥
Here's what we're going to cover:
- What Is Valacyclovir? & Quick Intro on HSV
- How Does Valtrex (valacyclovir) Work?: Everything You Need To Know
- Acyclovir vs Valacyclovir
- How To Strengthen Your Immune System To Avoid Herpes Outbreaks?
- What are the best over the counter Valtrex options available?
- What real people with herpes say and recommend?
What Is Valacyclovir & Quick Intro on HSV
Valacyclovir is a generic name for Valtrex medication (FDA approved) that is used to treat genital herpes, cold sores or shingles.
While there is no cure for herpes simplex virus (HSV), Valtrex is the most commonly known medication that helps to treat the symptoms and reduce the herpes outbreaks.
If you go to doctor with herpes, this is the medication that he is the most likely to prescribe to you.
Well, valacyclovir or acyclovir.
There are two types of herpes simplex virus:
- HSV-1 is the one that commonly produce cold sores.
- HSV-2 is the one that produces most genital herpes outbreaks.
Approximately 67% of the world's population has HSV-1.
In US more than 1 of 6 people have HSV-2.
The only way to avoid spreading genital herpes to the partner is by not having vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
But let's face it, it's not really possible.
Which is the reason why most of the population has herpes in one or another shape or form.
And the trouble is that you cannot really get rid of them.
You can only treat the symptoms and strengthen your immune system to avoid frequent herpes outbreaks (either with medication or healthy lifestyle).
Watch this video for a thorough animated herpes explanation so we're all on the same page:
How Does Valtrex (valacyclovir) Work?: Everything You Need To Know
There are two ways how medication is used to treat herpes:
- to treat the outbreaks
- use them constantly as a suppressive therapy to avoid chances of passing the virus to your partner and avoid further outbreaks.
Valacyclovir is an antiviral medication that helps to stop herpes from further replicating throughout the body by interfering with the mechanism herpes virus uses to reproduce itself.
The result is that herpes doesn't spread any further and the recovery is faster.
But you must know that there are no guarantees.
There has not been found a 100% safe way to cure herpes or prevent you from infecting your partner.
All the researchers have come up with is this data:
When using medication the likelihood to transfer HSV-2 to their sexual partner was 50% reduced.
Yet it's still far from 100% certainty.
All you get is 50/50 odds heh.
Valacyclovir just fights with the symptoms, but nobody has found way to completely eliminate the virus.
But that's the best we have for now.
How long does it take for valacyclovir to work?
While the answer is always:
But in most cases doctors promise improvement in 2–3 days.
And the sooner you treat the herpes outbreak, the more effective valacyclovir is.
Is also helps to note that herpes outbreaks usually happen when your immune system is weakened.
Things like stress, depression, lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, no exercise… all affect it.
Medication is treating the symptoms, but the root problem always is something else…and pretty obvious.
But you already knew that.
Just maybe didn't want to hear it.
Recommended Valacyclovir Dosages
The common dosage for first-time herpes symptom treatment is 1,000 mg 2x/day for 10 days.
For repeat outbreaks a typical prescription is 500mg 2x/day for 3 days.
But the faster you notice the herpes and treat them, the better the results.
Are there any side effects from using Valtrex (valacyclovir)?
A common side effects can be nausea, headache or dizziness.
But people reporting a serious allergic reactions or disorders is rare.
And while there are no specific warnings against using alcohol while taking Valtrex, you should avoid it.
Alcohol, smoking, bad food only weakens body's immune system and decreases it's chances to quickly fight HSV, even with the help of Valtrex.
Here's what others say about potential side effects:
“Not excessive, but noticeable side effect: hair loss ”
“Herpes medications are well tolerated by the vast majority who take them. Only 5% of people who take herpes medications experience any side effects at all, with the most ones being headache and nausea, and which typically clear after being on the medication for a few weeks.
More serious side effects are possible but uncommon.
One side effect that a few different people have reported in the sub from valtrex is hair loss. (not necessarily extensive, but noticeable when washing/drying one’s hair).
But reports of that have definitely been uncommon.
If you’ve already obtained your valtrex then it should have come with a list of possible side effects.”
“I’ve been having headaches the last couple days.”
“I’ve been on suppressive therapy (using valtrex) for a week (500 mg) now after my initial 10 day 2 g prescription, and I’ve been having headaches the last couple days.
Not bad ones, but they’re there. I’ve also been forgetting how to spell really common words and it’s scaring me.
The other day I forgot how to spell “traded” and had to google it. Today I forgot the word napkin, and I forgot how to spell judgment, and I forgot the term “spellcheck” (to be fair I confused it with “autocorrect”). ”
“I had the same exact side effects from Valtrex!
- it gets better after a few weeks
- drinking plenty of water with the medication helped immensely
- I went down to 250mg/day and the side effects have almost completely disappeared and I’ve been outbreak free so this dose seems to be strong enough for me”
“Up your water intake”
“Valtrex can dehydrate you. Combine that with your emotional swings and you can dehydrate further.
Up your water intake.
Rejection rates I’ve seen are usually better than 50/50. Casual sex is not advised.
Seek long term. If it’s a deal breaker, move on.
If hsv2 and a 2% or less transmission rate can ruin a relationship, it’s a sign that something that’s actually more likely (family issue, economics, commitment issues, arguments, etc) would have ruined it anyways.”
“It is honestly one of the best things to ever happen to me.”
“Like any drug it has side effects, but I’ve never had any of them, nor has anyone I know that takes them had any side effects.
I think they are extremely rare, and the list of side effects aren’t that dangerous.
I think the reason I never got on acyclovir was because I never really talked to my doctor about it before.
I was using zovirax before, which is topical and doesn’t really work that well. or at least not compared to the pills.
I had a month where I had 2 or 3 outbreaks, which was extremely uncharacteristic for me.
Not sure what the cause was but it caused me to ask my doctor about it because I was very upset about it.
The doctor prescribed me acyclovir and told me I could take them every day and pretty much not get them anymore, or just take them when I notice them and they’ll go away faster.
at first I took them twice a day for a little while. then I just take them when I feel them coming on.
I hardly get them at all anymore, and like I said when I do, I just take 2 pills a day, and they sometimes don’t even surface.
Or if they do, they are extremely small and really not noticeable (which is huge for me, I don’t know how other people feel about it, but I find them very embarrassing).
It is honestly one of the best things to ever happen to me.”
“I’ve been on a suppressive dose of acyclovir for the last month. “
“I had 4 months of constant oral outbreaks prior to giving in and asking my doctor for the prescription.
I noticed a little dizziness for the first week or so.
After that, I haven’t seen any side effects other than I haven’t had another outbreak, even when coming down with a bad cold and eating peanut butter.”
Acyclovir vs Valacyclovir
Acyclovir is an older antiviral medication that is still used to effectively threat HSV-1, HSV-2 and shingles.
Studies have shown that 500mg of valacyclovir is as affective as 800mg dose when treating herpes simplex virus.
Here's what real users say about it:
“I am one of those that have benefited greatly from acyclovir. “
“I used to get cold sores approx. 4–5 times a year and tried all the other treatment options out there (abreva, zilactin, lysine, etc.) before finally being prescribed acyclovir. It has been a godsend.
I took it as suppressive therapy for awhile and now only take it when I feel a cold sore coming on (which is exceedingly rare).
Also if I catch it early and pop a couple acyclovir, I can usually cut it off at the pass and stop it from even surfacing.
I try to tell anybody that has cold sores about the benefits of acyclovir so why not spread it here as well (no pun intended).”
“I would rather be on valacyclovir than acyclovir.”
“I had a cold sore twice in my life, and take acyclovir daily in order to prevent Alzheimers, shingles, HPV and Epstein Barr in the future. There are no side effects.
The actual chemical is related to an amino acid found in wheat. I can’t find a doctor to give me valacyclovir because it’s only on my lip, I don’t have sex.
SMH, I would rather be on valacyclovir than acyclovir.”
“Both are equally effective. Acyclovir is a lot cheaper.”
“The only difference between the two as far as effectiveness goes is that acyclovir needs to be taken twice per day whereas valacyclovir only needs to be taken once per day.
Apart from that, they are equally effective.
And acyclovir is usually a lot cheaper.
Daily medication reduces transmission risk by approximately 50%.
Not a drastic reduction, but certainly a significant one.”
Can You Strengthen Your Immune System To Avoid Herpes Outbreaks?
This might be unpopular opinion in the society where we rely on pills to solve our problems.
But this is how me and my girlfriend have been treating herpes.
I've noticed that outbreaks come when I put myself on serious stress and forget about healthy basics.
Yes, we still used valacyclovir to fight the outbreaks. But to my girlfriend she hasn't had one since one year ago.
To me, I had one half a year ago, but now with proper diet(i went vegan), sleep and stress management…
I have no regular issues.
Personally I hate an idea of being on any kind of pills for all my life.
It does help to have a serious partner when making these decisions.
But just wanted to add some extra perspective.
Here are few natural home remedies for herpes:
- doctors occasionally recommend exposing the herpes affected area in warm water. After you're done dry it up and put cotton on the area to absorb the moisture.
- many people report that extract of echinacea plant helps to improve body's immune system and fight the virus from outbreaking
- over the counter pain killers like aspirin or ibuprofen can help ease the pain from herpes (if you have any)
Here's another reader story:
“For what it’s worth, it’s possible to naturally manage your HSV1/HSV2 through nutrition and lifestyle.”
“I’ve had HSV2 for nearly five years now.
I’ve been really, really blessed to have very few outbreaks — I can fortunately count them on one hand) — and am in a committed partnership with someone who doesn’t have HSV2.
We’ve been physically involved for over two years, and with close monitoring and careful lifestyle/diet choices on my part, we’ve been able to have a normal relationship without herpes being much of an issue.
Main things are the pillars of healthy body and immune system: plenty of rest, lots of water, balanced diet (minimize intake of arginine-rich foods, consume tons of lysine-dense foods instead), low stress levels, regular exercise, etc.
While I did take Valtrex for my first outbreak, I haven’t looked back since (even after having a few outbreaks).
In addition to not having insurance — so taking Acyclovir/Valtrex for acute or suppressive treatment wasn’t an option anyways — I’m also very hesitant to take medication unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Conservative treatments — herbs, teas, tinctures, vitamins, lifestyle and diet changes — are much easier, cheaper and more accessible ways to institute change, so I turn to those first in all aspects of illness in my life.
If those don’t work, then I’m willing to take more drastic measures and consider taking an antiviral pharmaceutical.
But that’s just my experience.
All that said, it’s rough being sexually active and having herpes.
There’s tremendous responsibility in managing this virus as best as you can.
Do what’s right for you — albeit through herbs, vitamins and lifestyle; abstaining until you find the right partner and then use appropriate protection; through daily suppressive therapy, or perhaps all of the above.
Just know you have options.
And as far as “the talk” goes, you hit the nail on the head: it’s tough to know when is the right time to bring it up.
When I was diagnosed, I thought my love/sex life was over.
Turns out, it was a blessing in disguise. I started seeing my sex life differently, as I didn’t want to have that discussion with just anyone.
I became choosier about who I considered becoming intimate with.
If I didn’t want to have that discussion with them, then it’s likely that we didn’t have the core compatibility to be intimate on any level.
What are the best over the counter valtrex options available?
Since you need to have a prescription to get valtrex… are there any options to get them without going to the doctor?
A new way is to get online doctor visit and if your case is nothing out of ordinary you can get prescription and pills delivered to you that way.
But there are several genital herpes treatment creams and capsules on Amazon that people have used with good results.
If you don’t like to put chemicals in your body, are looking for solution without a prescription (over the counter options) these are your three best options.
Check out the reviews and decide for yourself:
#1 — HRP-B Gone Herpes Balm ($24.95)
This one is reported to great improve the healing time from herpes outbreak.
It has 659 positive customer reviews and has FDA approval.
#2 — Serex Cream To Treat Genitals Herpes and Cold Sores ($24.95)
Serex promises immediate relief in 24 hours or they promise 100 day money back guarantee.
That's a good risk reversal. This product has 47 customer reviews and it has 100% natural ingredients like : Lysine, zinc, eucalyptus citriodora oil, cotton-seed oil, lemon grass, and peppermint oil.
#3 — Herp Rescue: Immune Support Formula ($30.39)
Herp rescue has 332 positive customer reviews and FDA approved facility in the USA.
They promise to prevent herpes outbreaks (HSV-1 and HSV-2) and greatly speed up the healing of existing ones.
It has 100% natural ingredients like: Lysine, Vitamin C, Zinc, Oregano Oil, Self Heal (Prunella Vulgaris), Red Marine Algae, Bee Propolis, and Olive Leaf Extract.
What real people with herpes say and recommend?
Let's add some extra perspective.
We've got the medical, scientific side, but what real people say and what are their (success or failure) stories?
#1 — “Funny story about tinder”
“Met a girl on tinder went out had drinks, ended up back at my place. While showering and getting the smoke off ourselves before bed.
I said “hey I’ve got something to tell you before this goes any further”.
Her response “please say you have herpes, cuz I do too and this would be embarrassing if you’re going to say something different”
Long story short it was a good night and displays how common this virus is.”
#2 — “For all of you who think you might have herpes, go to the fucking doctor like an adult and get checked. “
“Showing us your balls and providing details like you were jacking off for 24 hours straight then ask if the red bumps are herpes despite having a fucking escort stomp on your dick with golf shoes or something is assinine and you sound ridiculous.
It makes those of us who actually have a medical diagnosis feel worse seeing how relieved you are that someone is stating the obvious.
Additionally, the only response those of us who have herpes should be giving when someone asks if “this looks like herpes” is “the only way to know is to have your doctor test you, go get checked out.”
As a cautionary tale, my doctor told me that bump I had was definitely NOT herpes and guess what the swab test said?
I’ll give you one hint…I’m posting on Herpes forum.
Moral of the story?
Why are you trusting your sexual health and the health or your partners to what someone told you anonymously on the internet?
And those of you who tell people it’s ok not to disclose…fuck yourself and save someone the heartache of having to deal with this.
I can’t believe the mental gymnastics that must go through some of your heads to forgo any sort of morals and justify spreading this to someone else and robbing them of their choice because it will make you feel bad.
You should be ashamed.”
#3 — “Tinder with Herpes”
“After 13 years of living with this I got sick of having “the talk”. I was tired of living with the anxiety of meeting someone, liking them a lot, and knowing they might reject me after I told them.
So I decided to write “HSV positive” at the bottom of my Tinder and see what happens, and guess what? I got so many matches.
I asked them if they read my whole profile and they all said yes.
I already have a date for Tuesday. :)”
#4 — “If you were just diagnosed: ITS GOING TO BE OK”
“Let me start off by saying that I was diagnosed with type 1 and 2 genital herpes a couple months ago.
When I was diagnosed I felt like COMPLETE shit.
Disgusted with myself, expecting a pitiful sex life, and utterly confused. I just stayed in my room, smoked weed, skipped school, and played video games for about a week straight.
(I am a very promiscuous guy in college and felt my sex life would be tarnished, no girlfriend, ect.)
Fast forward to today and everything is different!
have disclosed to every partner since and have not been rejected once.
I just got a new girlfriend who is drop dead gorgeous and loves me.
Don’t get lost in the stigma.
You have no reason to feel bad or ashamed, none. Herpes is so common and chances are the person who gave it to you didn’t even know they had it.
Yet you do and it’s something you can’t forget.
Remember how you felt when you were diagnosed?
…Yeah don’t be the person to pass that to someone else, you should really disclose.
But long story short, this moment, this feeling, is only a page in a chapter in the book of your life.
I fucking believe in you. Know why?
Because I was RIGHT THERE too.
Skimming articles, getting statistics, (I would even put on safe search so no one would see I have herpes if they saw my history) trying and failing not to have a complete melt down.
Guess what though?
I’m fine, I’m strong, I moved on… and you will too :)”
#5 — “STOP using the word “CLEAN” do describe your STD/Herpes status. This GROSSLY PERPETUATES THE STIGMA!!!”
“I’m so sick of hearing people describe themselves or their partners as “clean” when describing their status
We were never “dirty”
Just stop. Please.
It’s ignorant, demorsalizing, and feeds into the stigma that someone who has sex and gets an STD is “dirty”
So far from the truth.
#6 — “Positive experience telling my crush i have herpes!!! finally”
“He brought it up yesterday that he’s clean and I was planning on telling him once we met up about my diagnosis.
Since he revealed over text i figured I might as well too.
So I told him I have HSV2 and am on antivirals and however he takes that is fine.
He ended up saying “hey i really appreciate you being open with me!! i still like you just as much haha… no stigma”.
and went on to say how he would never shame me for anything.
And he still wants to have sex with me!!
I’m so happy and relieved!”
#7 — “The lack of education and attached stigma around herpes is insane”
“I had my first HSV-1 (genital) outbreak in June of this year.
I caught it from receiving oral sex from my boyfriend who was asymptotic.
We’d been together for a year so it came completely out of the blue.
I’ve been really struggling trying to come to terms with it myself and haven’t felt ready to tell anyone yet (apart from my boyfriend obviously).
I was at dinner the other night with a group of 10 of my friends.
At dinner everyone started gossiping about an acquaintance of ours who has just been diagnosed with genital herpes.
Everyone was laughing etc and I kind of just sat there and didn’t want to say anything.
One of my male friends, who I know gets cold sores, then entered the conversation laughing about this “girl with herpes”.
I had to say something then. Our convo went something like this:
Me: “You have herpes though.. You get cold sores”.
Him: (Scoffing at me) “Oh my god jtm, that’s a whole different virus”.
Me: “No.. It’s the same virus, you just have oral herpes. You actually need to be careful because you can transmit it to others, both orally and genitally”.
He literally started laughing at me etc so, still at the table, I brought up a really good website that helped me understand herpes when I got diagnosed and showed him that it is indeed the same virus.
He then got really defensive and started saying things like (still scoffing) “yeah, well I can’t give other people cold sores unless I have one at the time, so I wouldn’t kiss anyone with a cold sore, and it’s impossible to transmit to someone else’s genitals!”.
Ah, nope — cue me bringing up my website again.. He still essentially dismissed what I was saying.
It’s actually scary how little people know about herpes and how it can be transmitted — even those who have it!
As someone with genital herpes, it’s also really sad to see how much more stigma is attached to genital herpes when it’s the same virus as oral herpes!?
I have the rest of my life to deal with this, so I better get used to it now I guess!”
Bringing It All Together
I really hope this guide helped you to better understand herpes simplex virus, the best way to treat it…
And of course understand the fact that you're not alone.
The whole world has them and need to live with those herpes.
Now you have the ammo to fight back as well!
You can do it! 👊