In this article, I’m going to teach you how to use valacyclovir for cold sores. Ninety percent of all people get at least one cold sore in their life. This first occurrence is often the worst (mine sure was!).
After the first infection, many people develop antibodies and never have another cold sore. However, about 40% of American adults have recurring cold sores.
This was me for almost 20 years.
I had so many outbreaks that I suffered from serious psychological issues induced by cold sores.
To make a long story short…
I figured out how to prevent cold sore outbreaks, and I haven’t had a cold sore for over three years now. However, millions of people are still suffering, and that’s why I created this blog.
I’ve made it my Life’s Purpose and Mission to help others learn how to prevent and treat cold sores.
So now a lot of my time is spent researching and writing about all of the best cold sore remedies in the world. After writing some informative and helpful articles on natural remedies and over-the-counter remedies, now the time has come for me to do the first article in the category of prescription medications for cold sores.
Many people are using valacyclovir for cold sores, and in this article, I’m going to cover the Pros and Cons and give you a detailed Review on the use of valacyclovir for cold sores.
Valacyclovir For Cold Sores – Cold Sore Overview
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are groups of small blisters that form on or near the lips. Cold sores are a result of something called herpes simplex virus (HSV).
There are two types of HSV, and both can cause cold sores. HSV-1 typically is responsible for cold sores, and HSV-2 is most often the cause of genital herpes.
However, both types of HSV can cause cold sores or genital herpes.
After primary infection, the virus resides in the associated dorsal root ganglion where it lies dormant until an external stimuli (such as stress or immunosuppression) initiate reactivation of the virus from dormancy.
The virus lives on forever, and that’s why people continue to get cold sores over and over again.
Valacyclovir For Cold Sores – Valacyclovir Overview
Valacyclovir (sold under the trade name Valtrex), an antiviral drug that is most commonly used to treat infections by the herpes viruses that cause cold sores, genital herpes, and shingles. Valacyclovir was approved for medical use in 1995.
Valacyclovir is indicated for the treatment of HSV and VZV infections, including:
- Cold sores and genital herpes (treatment and prevention)
- Reduction of HSV transmission from people with recurrent infection to uninfected individuals
- Herpes zoster (shingles)
- Prevention against herpes viruses in immunocompromised patients
- Prevention of cytomegalovirus following organ transplantation
Valacyclovir is a prodrug of acyclovir. This simply means that your body converts valacyclovir to acyclovir after it’s absorbed.
The net result of this process is that the medication is:
- Delivered efficiently
- Absorbed well
Due to these effects, the medication can be taken fewer times per day. Valacyclovir works by stopping the herpes viruses (pictured below) from reproducing.
This leads to HSV infecting fewer cells in your body. Once valacyclovir enters the HSV-infected cells, valacyclovir begins to block the effects of DNA polymerase, an important enzyme which is needed by the herpes viruses to copy their genetic material and spread to other cells.
When valacyclovir blocks the effects of DNA polymerase (pictured below), the herpes viruses are not able to multiply. When the viruses can’t multiply, the magnitude of severity of the herpes infection is lessened, so one typically has a smaller cold sore which heals faster than usual.
Valacyclovir For Cold Sores – Research Studies
The benefits of using valacyclovir for cold sores have been scientifically documented in research studies. In two major studies involving a total of 3,151 participants, using valacyclovir for cold sores had favorable results over a placebo.
Here is the summary of the researchers:
“These studies show that 1-day, high-dose valacyclovir therapy at the first symptom of a cold sore is a safe and effective treatment. Both 1- and 2-day valacyclovir regimens provide clinically and statistically significant benefits over placebo in duration of the episode and time to lesion healing. Time to cessation of pain and/or discomfort was also significantly decreased by 1- or 2-day treatment with valacyclovir.
The proportion of subjects with prevented and/or blocked cold sore lesions was higher in the valacyclovir-treated groups, although statistical significance was not reached. These two large, well-controlled trials provide evidence that early, high-dose, short-duration antiviral intervention can shorten the clinical course of cold sores and that 2 days of therapy provide no additional benefit over 1 day.”
Valacyclovir Dosage For Cold Sores – How To Use Valacyclovir
As you can see, using valacyclovir for cold sores is a proven method for treatment. If you’re going to use valacyclovir for cold sores, make sure you follow the proper dosing guidelines as outlined.
Valacyclovir dosage for cold sores:
- Always use valacyclovir under the supervision of your doctor.
- Valacyclovir may be taken on an empty stomach or with food.
- Take 2 grams of valacyclovir twice daily for 1 day taken 12 hours apart. Therapy should be initiated at the earliest symptom of a cold sore (e.g., tingling, itching, or burning).
- Before taking valacyclovir, make sure you review the possible side effects and interactions.
Valacyclovir dosage for genital herpes:
- Recurrent Episodes: The recommended dosage of valacyclovir for treatment of recurrent genital herpes is 500 mg twice daily for 3 days. Initiate treatment at the first sign or symptom of an episode.
- Suppressive Therapy: The recommended dosage of valacyclovir for chronic suppressive therapy of recurrent genital herpes is 1 gram once daily in patients with normal immune function. In patients with a history of 9 or fewer recurrences per year, an alternative dose is 500 mg once daily. In HIV-1-infected patients with a CD4+ cell count greater than or equal to 100 cells/mm3 , the recommended dosage of valacyclovir for chronic suppressive therapy of recurrent genital herpes is 500 mg twice daily.
- Reduction of Transmission: The recommended dosage of valacyclovir for reduction of transmission of genital herpes in patients with a history of 9 or fewer recurrences per year is 500 mg once daily for the source partner.
Note: As you can see, valacyclovir is not FDA-approved for recurrent episodes, suppressive therapy, or reduction of transmission of cold sores (but it is for genital herpes). However, many doctors prescribe valacyclovir for off-label cold sore purposes, such as daily use for cold sore prevention, etc.
Valacyclovir For Cold Sores – Conclusion
Many people have prevented or reduced the healing time of their herpes simplex lesions by using valacyclovir for cold sores. It has shown favorable results in research studies, however, some people don’t get amazing results, and some people have side effects from using valacyclovir.
The key to cold sores is to prevent them from forming in the first place.
Thus, I encourage you to check out my Ultimate Guide to Preventing Cold Sores.
It’s free and has absolutely everything you need to know.
If you have any comments or questions on the use of valacyclovir for cold sores, please post them in the comment box below.