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Valacyclovir, under the brand name Valtrex, is one of a number of antivirals available for the treatment of herpes simplex and herpes zoster. Sometimes it may not be the best choice, in which case the following valacyclovir alternatives might be a better fit.


Zovirax (acyclovir) is the chemical valacyclovir converts to once in the body. In a way, taking Zovirax is like eliminating the middleman. Now, both Zovirax and Valtrex work in much the same way. Namely, they both inactivate HSV-specific DNA polymerases to prevent DNA synthesis. 


Famvir (ganciclovir) is a guanosine analog antiviral drug (it functions similarly to the chemical compound guanosine). Fortunately, it is quite effective in treating different kinds of herpes infections. In fact, Famvir is a better option for those with HIV than either Zovirax or Valtrex. Famvir is specifically for repeat outbreaks for herpes. It works by making the virus less active in the body, which is similar to how valacyclovir works. 

Valacyclovir Alternative for Meningitis

Famvir is one of the only other drugs listed in the treatment of viral meningitis from a herpes virus. Viral meningitis is a possible complication of HIV, and Famvir is often a better choice for those with compromised immune systems. It may not be the right choice for those with kidney problems or who are lactose intolerant, though. 

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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