Is it Dangerous to Take Valtrex While Pregnant?

Valtrex, also known as valacyclovir hydrochloride, is a prescription medications that is used to treat a variety of herpes infections, including genital herpes, cold sores from herpes that appear on the lips or face, and shingles, or herpes zoster.  Valtrex is typically used for a short period of time, for as many as ten days at the first sign of a herpes infection, and generally between 1 to 7 days for subsequent outbreaks.  Valtrex does not cure herpes, but it does help to control the severity and duration of the outbreaks.  For the pregnant woman, there may be concerns about taking Valtrex while pregnant.

The effects of taking Valtrex if you are pregnant are not entirely known.  There have not been sufficient studies to suggest that Valtrex is either safe or harmful during pregnancy.  One thing that we do know is that Valtrex does change to a chemical known as acyclovir in a woman’s body.  Studies done on acyclovir do not indicate that the medication creates any additional risk for either birth defects or for miscarriage.  Acyclovir is, occasionally, even prescribed by health care providers to help control the outbreaks of herpes in women who are pregnant.  However, more research needs to be done on this topic, as well.

There are specific side effects that can occur when taking Valtrex, whether or not you are pregnant.  These may include vomiting, rash, nausea, mania, high blood pressure, headache, facial swelling, diarrhea, decreased consciousness, allergic reactions, aggressive behavior, abdominal pain, agitation, visual abnormalities, rapid heartbeat, coma, confusion, depression, menstrual problems, joint pain, hepatitis, hallucinations, and dizziness.  Most of the time, people who take Valtrex will experience few if any of these side effects.  Some of these side effects can intensify some conditions that may be associated with pregnancy, particularly high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea.

Just as with any prescription or over-the-counter medication, you should consult with your health care provider before taking Valtrex while you are pregnant.  If you have been taking Valtrex and become pregnant, you should not stop taking the medication, but you should discuss it with your health care provider immediately.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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