Valacyclovir in the Treatment of Herpes Simplex, Herpes Zoster, and Other Viral Infections

  • Jashin J. Wu
  • Mathijs H. Brentjens
  • Gisela Torres
  • Kimberly Yeung–Yue
  • Patricia Lee
  • Stephen K. Tyring


Background: Genital herpes and herpes labialis are prevalent, physically and pychologically painful, and often disabling. Herpes zoster is often very painful and may result in months or years of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Over the past two decades, the treatment of these conditions has been transformed by guanosine nucleoside antivirals such as valacyclovir (Valtrex®), a highly bioavailable prodrug of acyclovir (Zovirax®), and famciclovir (Famvir®), a highly bioavailable prodrug of penciclovir (Denavir®). Objective: We describe the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and clinical efficacy of valacyclovir for the treatment of herpes simplex, herpes zoster, and other viral infections. Valacyclovir is also compared with acyclovir and famciclovir. Methods: All published literature containing the word “valacyclovir” was reviewed and summarized. Results: Valacyclovir is the only oral antiviral agent approved for therapy of herpes labialis, the only antiviral drug approved for a 3-day course in the episodic treatment of recurrent genital herpes, as well as the only antiviral drug approved for once daily dosing for suppressive therapy. In herpes zoster, valacyclovir is more effective than acyclovir and equally effective as famciclovir at hastening the healing of zoster-associated pain and PHN. Conclusion: Valacyclovir is safe and effective in the therapy of patients with herpes simplex and herpes zoster and may be useful in other viral infections.


L’herpès génital et l’herpès labial sont des affections courantes, physiquement et psychologiquement douloureuses et souvent invalidantes. Le zona est souvent très douloureux et peut causer des mois, voir des années, de névralgie postherpétique. Au cours des deux dernières décennies, le traitement de ces affections a été transformé grâce aux antiviraux nucléosides guansonines, tels que le valaciclovir (Valtrex), un prodrogue hautement biodisponible de l’aciclovir (Zovirax), et le famciclovir (Famvir), un prodrogue hautement biodisponible du penciclovir (Denavir). Objectifs: Description de la pharmacologie, de la pharmacocinétique et de l’efficacité clinique du valaciclovir dans le traitement de l’herpès simplex, du zona et d’autres infections virales. Également, le valaciclovir est comparé à l’aciclovir et au famciclovir. Méthodes: Revue et résumé de toutes les publications contenant le terme «valaciclovir». Résultats: Le valaciclovir est le seul agent antiviral oral approuvé dans le traitement de l’herpès labial. Il est aussi le seul médicament antiviral approuvé pour un traitement sur trois jours dans le cas de l’herpès génital récidivant et pour une dose quotidienne dans le cas d’un traitement suppressif. Dans les cas de zona, le valaciclovir est plus efficace que l’aciclovir et aussi efficace que le famciclovir dans le traitement rapide de la douleur et de la névralgie postherpétique. Conclusion: L’efficacité et l’innocuité du valaciclovir ont été établies dans le traitement des patients atteints d’herpès simplex et de zona. Il peut également servir au traitement d’autres infections virales.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jashin J. Wu
    • 1
  • Mathijs H. Brentjens
    • 2
  • Gisela Torres
    • 2
  • Kimberly Yeung–Yue
    • 2
  • Patricia Lee
    • 2
  • Stephen K. Tyring
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineBaylor College of Medicine, Houston, TexasUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Dermatology, Microbiology/Immunology and Internal MedicineUniversity of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TexasUSA

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