Valtrex is a commonly used anti-viral agent that is useful in the treatment of herpes infections. While it’s clinical applications range from simple cold sores all the way to recurrent episodes of genital herpes, it must be remembered that with every medication comes a side-effect. In this article, we shall briefly review the side-effects of valacyclovir when taken for different clinical indications.
Side-effects of Valtrex
There are certain serious side-effects that have been associated with the use of Valtrex. These include the following –
1. Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
This is a clinical condition where there is the formation of blotchy purple patches on the skin associated with a reduction in the platelet count. It is often seen in patients who have underlying HIV infection or in those who have undergone some form of bone marrow transplantation. The condition must be treated quickly and aggressively as the side-effect can be life threatening.
2. Kidney failure
Administering Valtrex to elderly patients who have some degree of kidney problems can result in the kidney function getting worse. This can also be seen in those patients who do not have any problems with the kidneys either. In addition, giving high doses of valacyclovir in those patients who already have some degree of kidney impairment can only make things worse.
Kidney failure is also seen in patients who take Valtrex along with other drugs that can affect the kidney. In particular, in patients who do not consume sufficient amount of water or in those who are dehydrated, kidney failure can become quite prominent.
3. Effects on the brain and nervous system
Valacyclovir can cause side effects on the brain such as hallucinations, agitation, aggressive behaviour, delirium, convulsions and even encephalopathy. This is particularly common in those individuals who have some form of kidney dysfunction.
4. Other side-effects
Patients who take Valtrex may experience nausea, headaches, dizziness and abdominal pain. In women, irregular periods can occur. Depression has been reported as have been fatigue and a rash. Blood test may reveal abnormal liver function tests.
Clearly, the side-effect profile of concern and both healthcare professionals and the patient must be aware of them when taking the drug. In the event of development of side-effects, patients may need to stop the drug can take an alternative instead.
Taking Valtrex with alcohol
It may be reassuring to know that taking alcohol with Valtrex does not appear to cause any additional side-effects. In other words, there do not appear to be any interactions between alcohol and Valtrex.
Valtrex is a useful drug in the management of herpes infections. Side-effect profile is a rather serious and must be monitored. The drug is only prescribed to the patient if the clinical indications and benefits of the drug outweigh the risks remarkably.