Also known as fever blisters, cold sores are the result of a viral infection with HSV1 (herpes simplex Type 1). The blisters typically appear on one’s lips and are small lesions filled with fluid. For those who have previously experienced cold sores in the past, the sign of a new outbreak is a tingling sensation in a particular spot a day or two before the blister actually appears. These symptoms can last for anything from ten days to a fortnight.
The bad news is that once the cold sore virus has entered the body, it will remain there for the rest of the person’s life. When triggered — for example by reduced immunity — it will reactivate, causing another outbreak of cold sores. This means that cold sores have no permanent cure. Fortunately, they usually don’t need to be treated medically as they will heal on their own within around two weeks. The symptoms are unpleasant, however; to shorten their duration you can treat them with topical or oral medications. One of the best-known topical treatments is Valacyclovair, generally referred to by its brand name: Valtrex.
How Valtrex Relieves Cold Sore Symptoms
To reiterate: the herpes virus never entirely leaves a person’s system once infection has occurred. After the initial infection, however, it may remain inactive and dormant for a number of years, only causing symptoms when an outbreak is triggered. Valtrex works by inhibiting the virus from multiplying inside the body. This helps to reduce the total number of outbreaks and also means that symptoms are less severe.
Using Valtrex for Other Conditions
Valtrex can be used as a treatment for genital herpes, chickenpox, shingles and to reduce the likelihood that herpes will spread between sexual partners.
How Much to Take
The appropriate dosage will depend on a number of factors, including any medications that the patient is already taking and the person’s age. Other factors are underlying health conditions and how much the person weighs. In the case of cold sores, a typical recommended dosage will be around 2000 milligrams. This dose needs to be taken twice for a single day. The doses must be taken twelve hours apart. This applies only to adults and children over the age of twelve. Lately, generic forms of Valtrex have started to become available. Valtrex and its generic versions are available in two strengths: 500 milligrams and 1000 milligrams.
Like most other effective medications, Valtrex has some side effects. Most people, however, are able to tolerate these reasonably well. The list of known side effects can include:
- Headaches, which are very common and occur in most patients.
- Nausea, which is slightly less prevalent but still very common.
- Abdominal pain is also possibility.
- Depression is uncommon but does occur.
- Approximately eight per cent of women who use Valtrex report painful menstruation.
- Among the less commonly reported symptoms are dizzy flashes, increased liver enzyme levels and pain in the joints.