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Medically Approved

Valacyclovir oral tablet dosage: A detailed guide

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Valacyclovir oral tablet is prescribed for viral infections caused by herpes simplex viruses. It’s taken by mouth one to three times per day depending on the condition it’s treating.
Medically reviewed by Alex Brewer, PharmD, MBA
Updated on

Valacyclovir oral tablet is a generic version of the brand-name drug Valtrex. The brand-name drug isn’t described in this article. To learn more about this version of the drug, talk with your doctor.

This article describes valacyclovir oral tablet’s dosages, its strengths, and details on how to take it. You’ll also find information on cost savings and coupon options for valacyclovir.

If you want to know more about valacyclovir oral tablet, see this overview article. It covers details about the drug’s uses, side effects, and more.

Form and strengths of valacyclovir

Valacyclovir oral tablet comes as follows:

  • Form: tablet that you swallow
  • Strengths: 500 milligrams (mg), 1 gram (g)

Dosage of valacyclovir

This article describes the recommended dosages* for valacyclovir oral tablet. It treats infections caused by herpes simplex viruses, including:

If your doctor prescribes this medication, you should take the dosage they prescribe. Your doctor will determine the dosage that best meets your needs. Do not change your dosage of valacyclovir oral tablet without your doctor’s recommendation.

* The drugmaker provides these recommended dosages.

Usual recommended dosages of valacyclovir in adults

The information below describes dosages that are commonly prescribed.

Dosage for cold sores, shingles, and other conditions

Adult dosages in the table below are in milligrams (mg) and grams (g).

ConditionRecommended doseFrequency
cold sore2 gevery 12 hours for 1 day
shingles1 g3 times per day for 7 days
genital herpes, first episode1 g2 times per day for 10 days
genital herpes, repeat episodes500 mg2 times per day for 3 days
genital herpes, to reduce risk of passing to a sexual partner500 mgonce per day
genital herpes, to prevent flare-ups500 mg to 1 gonce per day
genital herpes, to prevent flare-ups in people with HIV500 mg2 times per day

The recommended maximum dosage of valacyclovir oral tablet for adults is 4 g per day.

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Dosages of valacyclovir in children

Children’s dosages in the table below are in g and mg per kilogram (kg), depending on the condition.

ConditionAgeRecommended doseFrequency
cold sore12 years and older2 gevery 12 hours for 1 day
chickenpox2 years to 17 years20 mg per kg*3 times per day for 5 days

* For reference, 1 kg equals about 2.2 pounds (lb).

When treating chickenpox, your child’s doctor will use the child’s weight in kg to calculate the dosage. For example, assume a 5-year-old child weighs 25 kg (about 55 pounds). The child’s dose of valacyclovir will be 500 mg. The dose will be given 3 times per day for 5 days.

Dosage adjustments for valacyclovir

Your doctor will prescribe a dosage of valacyclovir oral tablet based on several factors, including:

  • the specific condition being treated and how severe it is
  • your age
  • a child’s weight (to treat chickenpox)
  • other health conditions you may have

Your doctor may prescribe you a lower dosage of valacyclovir oral tablet depending on how well your kidneys work. Before you start your treatment, talk with your doctor about your kidney function.

Missed dose of valacyclovir

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist right away if you realize you forgot a dose of valacyclovir oral tablet. They may advise you to take the missed dose. Or they may advise you to skip it and take your next dose as scheduled.

For tips on how to plan your doses of valacyclovir oral tablet and avoid missing a dose, read this article. You could also try:

  • downloading a reminder app on your phone
  • setting an alarm
  • putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your calendar, bathroom mirror, or bedside table

Frequently asked questions

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about valacyclovir oral tablet and its dosage.

Do older adults need a lower dose of valacyclovir?

It’s possible that older adults may need a lower dose of valacyclovir oral tablet. (Older adults are usually people who are age 65 years and older.) In some cases, your doctor may prescribe you a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. This is true especially if you’re an older adult with kidney problems.

In older adults, the kidneys may not work as well as they did previously. This can cause a higher amount of valacyclovir oral tablet to stay in the body longer. As a result, the risk of side effects increases.

To learn more about valacyclovir’s side effects, see this article. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns pertaining to your valacyclovir dosage and your age.

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Is valacyclovir taken long term?

It depends on what it’s treating.

Doctors typically prescribe valacyclovir oral tablet as a long-term treatment for some conditions. These include treating repeat episodes of genital herpes or preventing them.

But valacyclovir is also taken as a short-term treatment for cold sore, genital herpes, shingles, or chickenpox.

You and your doctor can discuss whether valacyclovir is safe and effective for your condition. If you have questions about how long you should take valacyclovir oral tablet, ask your doctor.

How valacyclovir is taken

You’ll swallow the valacyclovir oral tablet. Typically, you’ll take it at the first sign of symptoms. Or you might take it within 48 hours of signs and symptoms. Your doctor will advise you when to start your treatment.

You can take valacyclovir with food or without it. Depending on the condition it’s treating, you’ll take it one to three times per day. Your doctor will tell you how often you should take the medication.

Your doctor may advise that you take this medication around the same time each day. This helps maintain a consistent amount of the drug in your body. And that can help it work more effectively.

If it’s hard for you to swallow tablets, view this article. It provides suggestions on how to swallow medications that come in pill form. The 1-gram tablets have a partial groove that may help with splitting the tablet if needed.

Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re having difficulty taking your medication. They can offer recommendations about taking it. In some cases, your pharmacist may be able to prepare a liquid suspension from the tablets for swallowing.

Valacyclovir coupon

Visit this page to access Optum Perks coupons and get price estimates for valacyclovir when you use the coupons. These coupons can provide significant savings on your prescription costs. 

Note: Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.

Overdose of valacyclovir

It’s important that you do not take more valacyclovir oral tablet than your doctor prescribes. Doing so can lead to serious side effects. 

What to do if you take too much valacyclovir

If you think you’ve taken too much valacyclovir, call your doctor or pharmacist right away. Or you could call 800-222-1222 to speak with someone at America’s Poison Centers. You can also use its online resource. If you have severe symptoms, call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. You can also go to the closest emergency room.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes the usual recommended dosages for valacyclovir oral tablet. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they’ll determine the dosage that’s best for you.

Do not change your dosage of valacyclovir oral tablet without your doctor’s recommendation. You should take valacyclovir oral tablet exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about your treatment plan.

Here’s a list of some possible questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • What drug alternatives are available to treat my condition? If so, how do their dosages compare with valacyclovir’s dosage?
  • Will my dosage change if I have bothersome side effects from valacyclovir?
  • If I’m an adult with a small stature, will my weight be used to calculate my dosage of valacyclovir?

Disclaimer: Optum Perks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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