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Terms & Conditions

Cold Sore Treatment Plan

This treatment plan contains information regarding the medication that was prescribed to you including but not limited to: ingredient information, interactions, side effects, instructions for use, and other important information you should know prior to starting it.

Valacyclovir (Generic for Valtrex®) Treatment Plan: Oral Herpes

Valacyclovir is an FDA-approved treatment for oral cold sores due to the herpes virus. Hims & Hers only offers access to valacyclovir as an Episodic Therapy for the treatment of RECURRENT oral herpes. Recurrent oral herpes means that you have experienced an infection in the past (i.e., this is not the first time that you are experiencing an oral cold sore).

If you are experiencing a new oral lesion that you are concerned may be due to the herpes virus, please see a healthcare provider in-person in order to get an accurate diagnosis prior to seeking treatment through the Hims & Hers platform.

This treatment plan reviews the risks and benefits of the treatment your physician is recommending for ORAL HERPES. Please make sure to read it in addition to the manufacturer’s pamphlet that comes with the medicine. If you would like to learn more about valacyclovir for the treatment of genital herpes, please click on this link.

What is EPISODIC therapy of oral herpes?

Episodic Therapy: This is when you take valacyclovir for an individual outbreak as it occurs. Episodic treatment must be initiated quickly to be effective. Ideally, you would start valacyclovir at the first sign of any prodromal symptoms (tingling, itching, pain, or burning) that precede the appearance of the cold sore. When started early, research shows that valacyclovir can shorten the duration of the herpes infection by 1 day. If you start valacyclovir once the cold sore has already appeared, it may be less effective.

What is Valacyclovir?

After taking valacyclovir by mouth, it is quickly converted in the body to acyclovir, an antiviral drug that is active against Herpes Type-1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Type-2 (HSV-2) viruses. Specifically, it lowers the ability of herpes viruses to multiply in your body.

Valacyclovir is only available with a healthcare provider’s prescription.

What is oral herpes?

Oral herpes is a viral infection that is most commonly caused by Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1). It mainly affects the inside of the mouth and the lips but HSV-1 can less commonly be the cause of genital herpes (in about 20% of cases). Oral herpes causes painful sores (one or more) in and around the mouth (upper and lower lips, roof of the mouth, gums, inside of the cheeks, or even around the nose). These sores are typically referred to as “cold sores”, but may also be referred to as “fever blisters”. People often contract oral herpes at a young age by coming into contact with the virus through infected saliva, skin, or mucous membranes. The virus enters the body through broken skin (a cut or abrasion). Most young people are exposed to the infection by non-intimate contact (sharing drinking vessels, lip makeup, towels, etc.), but the virus can also be spread by kissing or other sexual activity. A person with oral herpes can transmit the virus to a non-infected partner’s genitals during oral sex. However, the most common cause of genital herpes is a different strain of the herpes virus called Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-2 can also cause oral herpes, but this is much less common. Valacyclovir effectively treats both HSV-1 and HSV-2. One to two days before a visible oral herpes outbreak, a person may experience “prodromal” symptoms, including itching, burning, pain, or tingling at the site of the oncoming infection. Some people may also experience a fever, fatigue, or swollen lymph nodes. During this time, you can transmit the herpes virus to others.

Are canker sores and cold sores the same thing?

Although they both appear in or around the mouth, canker sores and cold sores are very different. Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus. The exact cause of canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, remains unclear. Canker sores only appear inside of the mouth and not on the outer surface of the lip. While cold sores are contagious, canker sores are not. Both types of sores can be very painful.

Does valacyclovir cure oral herpes?

No, there is no cure for oral herpes.

How should I take Valacyclovir?

Valacyclovir is a tablet that is taken by mouth with or without food. In order to be most effective, valacyclovir should be taken at the very first sign of an oncoming infection (burning, tingling, itching, or pain even before the cold sore appears).

Valacyclovir episodic treatment dose: Take 2 grams by mouth twice a day for 1 day.

Who should not take valacyclovir?

Do not take valacyclovir if you are:

  • hypersensitive or allergic to valacyclovir, acyclovir, or any component of the formulation

If any of the following conditions apply to you, please speak with a healthcare provider in-person about seeking treatment for your oral herpes:

  • Younger than 18 years of age
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • HIV infection or AIDS
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • History of a bone marrow transplant or kidney transplant
  • Weakened immune system not related to HIV infection
  • Aseptic encephalitis or transverse myelitis
  • Urinary retention issues
  • Widespread herpes simplex virus
  • History of seizure disorder

Can I take valacyclovir if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is best that you see a healthcare provider in-person if you are pregnant or breastfeeding to discuss the best approach to managing your oral herpes.

What are valacyclovir’s ingredients?

  • Active ingredient: Valacyclovir hydrochloride
  • Inactive Ingredients: Carnauba wax, colloidal silicon dioxide, crospovidone, FD&C Blue No. 2 Lake, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, povidone, titanium dioxide, edible white ink

What are the most common side effects of valacyclovir?

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain

Use & Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children. Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare provider how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.