Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Genital herpes: To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, wash your hands immediately after touching your skin sores. You should avoid intimate contact when live lesions are visible on your skin. The herpes virus can still be spread even when you do not have blisters or sores.
Immunosuppression (weak immune system): People who have a weakened immune system should only use valacyclovir if the benefits outweigh the risks. If you have had an organ transplant, are infected with HIV, or otherwise have a weak immune system, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Kidney disease: Valacyclovir may cause decreased kidney function or kidney failure. People with kidney disease may need a lower dose of this medication. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
If you experience signs of decreased kidney function, such as decreased urine production, nausea, fatigue, or muscle twitches or cramps, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Safer sex: Valacyclovir, when taken in appropriate doses each day, can reduce the risk of passing on genital herpes to sexual partners. It should be used in combination with safer sex practices such as using condoms and dental dams. If you have any questions about practicing safer sex, speak to your doctor.
Systemic infection: The safety and effectiveness of using valacyclovir to treat herpes zoster infection that is inside the body has not been established. This is not an accepted use for this medication.
Pregnancy: Although valacyclovir does not appear to increase the risk of harm to an unborn baby, the safety of valacyclovir use during pregnancy has not been established. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking valacyclovir, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: Seniors are more likely to have decreased kidney function than younger adults. A decreased dose of valacyclovir may be required. It is important for seniors to drink enough water while taking this medication, to remain well-hydrated.