Choosing Generic Vs Branded Valacyclovir - Herpes


Generic medicines contain the same active ingredient and are equally effective and medically equivalent as the branded products but are available at a lower price. Generic manufacturers have to demonstrate that they are medically identical to the branded product - i.e. they offer the same quality, strength, stability and effectiveness.

Valacyclovir - Genital Herpes Treatment


Our Prices

Valacyclovir 500mg

  • 6 (1 outbreak) - $15.99
  • 12 (2 outbreaks) - $22.99
  • 18 (3 outbreaks) - $29.99
  • 90 (suppression) - $59.99

About Valacyclovir

What is Valacyclovir?

Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug used to treat herpes simplex virus infections that cause skin and genital herpes in adults. Valacyclovir slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus to help the body fight the symptoms of the infection. Since the virus reproduces very early in the infection, you will benefit most from treatment if you take Valacyclovir tablets as soon as the first symptoms appear. Valacyclovir, is not a cure for herpes simplex and it does not prevent you from spreading the virus to other people. People who have frequent episodes of genital herpes can also take Valacyclovir to help to prevent the attacks.

What is suppression treatment?

Suppression treatment may be suitable if you experience very frequent episodes of genital herpes, more than six recurrences a year. Antiviral drugs taken daily for herpes can prevent or reduce the duration of symptoms, the frequency and severity of recurrences and can reduce the likelihood of transmission to your partner. Studies show that outbreaks are milder and shorter than without suppression treatment.

How to take Valacyclovir

For an outbreak:
  • The usual dose is 500 mg twice daily.
  • You should take Valacyclovir for three days.
For recurrent infection:
  • the usual dose is one 500 mg tablet once a day
  • the duration of suppression treatment is normally 3-5 days.

What is the difference between Valacyclovir and Acyclovir?

Valacyclovir and Acyclovir are closely related antiviral drugs that work by interfering with the viral DNA replication. Acyclovir is the active drug and valacyclovir is a pro-drug. This means that after valacyclovir is taken, it is converted in the body to Acyclovir.

Both drugs target the same viruses and are equally effective for treating genital herpes. Valacyclovir provides a useful alternative to Acyclovir with the advantage of a simpler dosing regimen because it does not have to be taken as frequent, potentially making it more convenient to comply with. For suppression treatment Valacyclovir is deemed to be more tolerable but Acyclovir is much less expensive, making it more cost-effective.

Genital Herpes Information

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is a very common and highly contagious infection usually spread through sex. Most cases of genital herpes are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is more often the cause of cold sores but can also be a cause of genital herpes. There is no cure for herpes.

In America, genital herpes affects 1 out of 6 people ages 14-49. Though, most people with genital herpes have not been diagnosed, are not aware and do not experience any symptoms or very mild ones.

  • Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
  • Genital herpes is very similar to the herpes that appear on the hands and face ('cold sores'), but is found on or around the penis, anus or vagina.
  • There are two types of herpes virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both types can cause genital herpes. The first episode of infection (primary) with genital herpes is often quite severe. There are blisters and inflammation at the site of infection and the sufferer may feel generally unwell. It is common to have symptoms of burning when passing urine.
  • After the first episode of infection with HSV the virus enters into a dormant phase in the nerve, which supplies feeling to the area where infection occurred.
  • The dormant virus reactivates from time to time to cause recurrences.
  • Some people get symptoms warning them that a recurrence is about to occur, such as itching, tingling or pain in the genital area; blisters or sores may then develop. These tend to be less severe than the symptoms that occurred at the time of the first episode of infection.
  • From time to time the virus may reactivate without causing any symptoms of infection at all.

Who gets Genital Herpes?

Anyone who has sex can get genital herpes. You can get genital herpes from skin-to-skin contact with the infected area when performing or receiving vaginal, penis, anus and oral sex. The people most at risk are those having unprotected sexual intercourse (i.e. not using condoms), especially those with more than one sexual partner and those who change sexual partners.

How do you get infected with Genital Herpes?

  • Genital herpes is spread by direct contact with the infectious virus, by unprotected vaginal, penis or anus sex. Also, by oral sex, sharing of sex toys or genital contact with someone who gets cold sores.
  • Genital herpes and cold sores are both very infectious when an infected person has blisters or sores.
  • It is possible for an infected person to transmit the virus when they have no symptoms of infection. The risk of this happening is probably reduced by using condoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Genital Herpes?

The first symptoms of genital herpes infection can include spots or red bumps around the genital area that causes blisters, burning or itching around the genitals. The small blisters burst open to leave raw, painful sores which gradually crust over, forming new skin as they heal over, within a few weeks. The blisters and sores may also be accompanied by flu-like symptoms with fever and swollen lymph nodes.

Some people may not notice or have any symptoms, but the HSV infection can still be passed on. Then again, after first becoming infected you might notice symptoms after a few days to a couple of weeks or months to even years.

Any of the following symptoms of a genital HSV infection can occur in a man or a woman:

  • Cracked, raw, or red areas around your genitals without pain, itching, or tingling
  • Itching or tingling around your genitals or your anal region
  • Small blisters that break open and cause painful sores. These may be on or around your genitals (penis or vagina) anus, thighs, or bottom area. More rarely, blisters may occur inside the urethra -- the tube urine passes through on its way out of your body.
  • Pain from urine passing over the sores -- this is especially a problem in women.
  • Headaches
  • Backaches - aches and pains in the lower back and down the legs
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue

How Serious is Genital Herpes

  • Genital herpes can be a more serious condition for people with HIV, who need specialist care.
  • For most people, genital herpes is not a serious threat to their health. Aside from the discomfort, a herpes simplex virus infection is more of a psychological stressor.
  • The majority of people with genital herpes experience mild and infrequent symptoms. Some people may experience more frequent and severe recurrent episodes.
  • Pregnant women, although rare, can pass on the herpes infection to their baby.
  • The risk of transmission is greatest for babies born to a woman with first episode genital herpes around the time of delivery. Neonatal herpes is potentially life threatening, but this is very rare.
  • Women with recurrent herpes prior to pregnancy are at very low risk of transmitting the infection to their babies.

Side Effects

As with all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Valaciclovir should only be taken after carefully weighing the potential positives and negatives in conjunction with a qualified healthcare professional. The most common adverse reactions reported by patients treated with Valaciclovir were headache and nausea.

The following side effects have also been reported:

Common (may affect less than 1 in 10):

  • Feeling sick
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skin reaction after exposure to sunlight (photosensitivity)
  • Rash

Alternatives to Valacyclovir


Self-care measures may be helpful for some people:
  • keep the area clean using plain or salt water to prevent blisters becoming infected
  • apply an ice pack wrapped in a flannel to soothe pain
  • apply petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) or painkilling cream (such as 5% lidocaine) to reduce
  • pain when you urinate
  • wash your hands before and after applying cream or jelly
  • urinate while pouring water over your genitals to ease the pain
  • increase fluid intake to produce dilute urine (which is less painful to void).
  • use adequate pain relief (e.g. acetaminophen, aspirin or other pain relievers)
  • avoid vaginal, anal or oral sex until the sores have gone away
  • avoid wearing tight clothing (which may irritate lesions)
  • avoid sharing towels and flannels with household members
  • avoid identified trigger factors (e.g. ultraviolet light, excess alcohol)
ZipHealth offers a wide range of treatments for Genital Herpes.

Information Leaflet

Patient Information Leaflet

Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.

Authored 02 April 2020 by Dr Clare Morrison, Reviewed 02 April 2020 by Liyya Patel, Siobhan Titre Last updated 02 April 2020