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Valacyclovir/Valtrex side effects

Is hair loss a side effect of Valacyclovir/Valtrex when taken for suppressive therapy?
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207091 tn?1337709493
Yes, it can be.


"Incidence not known
    hair loss or thinning of the hair"

That means it happens, but they don't really study it to find out how often.

Is it happening to you, or are you concerned about it? If you're concerned about it, know that it doesn't happen to everyone. If you already have alopecia, it may be a bigger concern, but talk to your doctor.
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I'm not currently taking it - just considering it at this point.  Are there any other anti-viral options that don't have this side effect?
You may not get that side effect. I haven't, and I did get it from a heart medication I take. Your mileage may vary, of course.

There is another antiviral called famvir. Hair loss isn't a known side effect of that. However, it is more expensive, usually, though it has also been studied and does reduce shedding, and therefore, probably transmission -


Valtrex is a little better for reducing shedding -


You mention in your previous posts that you've had hsv2 for 25+ years. How frequent are your outbreaks? How were you diagnosed? Were you ever officially typed? You may well have hsv2, but since you can have genital hsv1, something that most docs didn't know about 25 years ago, if you haven't yet officially been typed, it might be a good idea to do that. You can ask your doctor for a type specific IgG blood test, or get one through STDcheck - https://www.stdcheck.com/herpes-i-ii-test.php

If you don't have insurance or money is a concern right now, there's no rush. The only reason to know is that transmission info is different.

I’ve never been officially diagnosed by a doctor, but got tested last month. Turns out I’m positive for both HSV1 1.23 and HSV2 7.72. :|
The only outbreaks I’ve ever had have been below the belt and I get them every 3-4 months.
I’m most interested in reducing shedding but the possibility of hair loss is a little off putting.
Also, I’m curious what side effects you actually did have on Valtrex, if you don’t mind sharing?  :)
Don't worry too much about the hsv1. Up to 80% of the population has that. The vast majority never gets any symptoms.

I've taken all 3 antivirals - Valtrex, acyclovir and famvir.

Acyclovir - you know how when your skin gets really dry and then you shower, you can sort of slough it off? When I take acyclovir, it causes that skin sloughing. After I take a shower, and dry off, I notice my skin gets really dry and sloughs off. (I hope that makes sense.) A friend noticed the same when she took it. Also, it's twice a day and I'm not great at remembering both doses. It's cheap, though. That always helps.

Famvir - This didn't work so well for me, personally, in reducing outbreaks, but I didn't have any side effects.

Valtrex - at 500 mgs - no side effects. At 1000 mgs, it makes my vulva itch and twitch. I don't know why. I've seen others report that, but it's all anecdotal.

That's me, personally. Your mileage may vary. I've been on one or the other since 2004ish. All of my liver tests (they are metabolized through the liver) are always good. My kidneys are fine. If you have any kidney issues, talk to your doctor before taking it. For most healthy people, though, it's fine. And remember that even aspirin and tylenol have side effects.

For me, it was about quality of life. My outbreaks were frequent and painful. They are neither now. Your reasons for taking it are different, so your decision may be different. :)
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge. It’s very much appreciated.
You're welcome. I'm glad I could help. :)
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