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$14/outbreak*under $1/day for daily treatment
Valacyclovir pills in Ro bottle and smiling man using the medication

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Valacyclovir is used for treating cold sores and genital herpes. It can help shorten the duration of an outbreak and...

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*Dosing minimums apply; total cost varies based on dosing regimen and shipping frequency. See pricing details here.

Genital herpes

Genital Herpes pills in Ro package and happy people using the medication
Preventative treatment for frequent outbreaks

Starting at $29/month on a recurring plan*

Taken daily, valacyclovir can reduce how often you experience outbreaks and reduce the risk of giving herpes to a partner by about 50% (when used with safe sex practices).

As-needed treatment for occasional outbreaks

Starting at $14/month on a recurring plan*

When taken at the first signs of an outbreak, valacyclovir can shorten an outbreak and help it heal faster.

*Dosing minimums apply; total cost varies based on dosing regimen and shipping frequency. See pricing details here.

Cold sores

Cold Sores pills in Ro bottle and happy people using the medication
As-needed treatment for occasional outbreaks

Starting at $14/month on a recurring plan*

When taken at the first signs of an outbreak, valacyclovir can shorten how long cold sores last.

Preventative treatment for frequent outbreaks

Starting at $29/month on a recurring plan*

Valacyclovir can be prescribed off-label to reduce the chance of outbreaks, if determined appropriate by a provider.

Valacyclovir is not FDA-approved as a daily treatment to prevent cold sore outbreaks, but it may be prescribed off-label if a Ro-affiliated provider believes it is an appropriate course of treatment for a particular patient. Learn more about off-label prescribing.

*Dosing minimums apply; total cost varies based on dosing regimen and shipping frequency. See pricing details here.

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    Online visit

    Share your symptoms and medical history in the free online visit. A US-licensed healthcare provider will review your information and will typically get back to you within 24 hours.

  2. Discreet packaging with Ro logo


    Free and discreet deliveries

    If prescribed, your treatment will arrive at your door in discreet packaging.

  3. Work with your Ro-affiliated provider to find the best treatment plan for your lifestyle.


    Ongoing care

    Send your provider a message at any time to discuss updating your treatment, address side effects, or answer other treatment-related questions or concerns.

From the experts at Ro

Learn more about Valacyclovir, genital herpes and cold sores

Frequently asked questions about valacyclovir

Valacyclovir comes in two doses, 500 mg and 1000 mg tablets. Although there are only two doses, there are several ways to use the medicine for different indications. Remember that these doses may need to be changed for people with specific conditions, such as kidney problems. If you’re prescribed valacyclovir, take it according to your prescriber’s instructions.

Acyclovir was the first antiviral drug for the treatment of herpes infections. Acyclovir was initially FDA-approved to treat herpes simplex infections in 1985 as the brand name drug Zovirax® and was found to be very effective for treating herpes infections. The main problem with acyclovir is that only 10%–20% of it is absorbed from the digestive tract. Higher doses have worse absorption than lower doses. This made it very difficult to maintain a high enough level of the drug in the blood to be effective, requiring patients to take up to five doses per day.

Valacyclovir is considered a prodrug of acyclovir, which means that it is converted into acyclovir in the body. Since valacyclovir is absorbed much better than acyclovir (54% for valacyclovir vs. 10%–20% for acyclovir), it can be dosed less frequently and get equal or better results compared to acyclovir. Valacyclovir is dosed from 1 to 3 times daily, depending on what it’s used for, whereas acyclovir is used 2 to 5 times daily, depending on the indication. Doctors and patients prefer Valacyclovir because it is easier to dose and may be more effective.

Once in the blood, valacyclovir starts to work almost immediately. Since it specifically attacks the DNA replication process, it will only attack herpes viruses that are reproducing. While it starts to work on an active infection very quickly, it will not fight the inactive virus hiding in the nervous system.

Nevertheless, if taken daily and used with safe sex practices, it may reduce the number of outbreaks a person might experience by 54% and reduce the risk of transmitting herpes to a partner by about 50%. Taken at the earliest feeling that an outbreak is on the verge of occurring, valacyclovir may either abort the attack or shorten how long it will last. Remember, with valacyclovir treatment for herpes, the earlier you take it after the symptoms appear, the better.

While it goes to work within hours of taking the medication, the symptoms and sores of an outbreak may take days to heal, and the virus can stay active throughout the healing process.

For genital herpes:

To Treat Or Abort An Outbreak When There Are Early Symptoms (Prodrome) Some patients use the medication to abort an outbreak. Whether oral or genital, people can take medication when their specific prodrome (symptoms) tells them an outbreak is on the horizon. The medication often stops an outbreak; when it does not, it can shorten and make an outbreak milder than it might have been otherwise.

To Prevent Outbreaks When There Are No Symptoms But Outbreaks Are More Likely Patients also learn the life circumstances or behaviors that lead to more outbreaks. For some, a lack of sleep, increased alcohol, another illness, stress, too much sunlight, irritation, or anything that can affect one’s immunity can spur an outbreak. They know when they are more likely to have an outbreak due to their circumstances. They can avoid their triggers, but they also might want to take medication preventatively, knowing when they are more vulnerable.

To Suppress Outbreaks For An Extended Period Patients can take medication when they would like to do all they can to reduce their chance of having an outbreak. The classic example would be during a honeymoon, going on vacation, starting a new job, in a new relationship, or at any time a patient feels it is how they want to keep the chance of having an attack as low as possible.

To Prevent Transmission to An Uninfected Partner One of the most important advances in herpes treatment came with the knowledge that transmission from an infected person to their uninfected partner could be reduced. Valacyclovir not only reduces the number of outbreaks a person experiences, but it reduces asymptomatic shedding. That results in fewer uninfected partners catching herpes. If a condom is worn and the medication used, the chances are reduced by at least half compared to using a condom alone. Fewer outbreaks and fewer episodes of shedding mean fewer people becoming infected.

Common side effects include headache, nausea, and stomach pain. More serious side effects can occur and are more likely if you have a weakened immune system or are elderly.

For more comprehensive information on side effects that can occur with valacyclovir, see full Important safety information here. []

Important safety information

What should you know before taking valacyclovir.

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