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Shingles is a viral disease called herpes zoster, which emerges when the varicella-zoster virus reactivates in the body. Many people first catch this virus with exposure to chickenpox. Valacyclovir (Valtrex) is proven to be effective in the treatment of herpes zoster, although it will not remove the varicella-zoster virus from the body. 


The typical dose for shingles is 1,000 milligrams three times daily for 7 days. 

Side Effects

  • Discouragement
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of interest
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping

Less common side effects include:

  • Tarry stools
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Decreased urine output (oliguria)
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)


How long does it take for valacyclovir to work for shingles?

If used within 48 hours of the first symptoms appearing, valacyclovir may provide relief in about three days. 

What does valacyclovir do for shingles?

Valacyclovir affects the virus’s ability to replicate. Therefore, it may shorten the length of an outbreak and reduce the likelihood of future outbreaks.

How much valacyclovir should I take for shingles?

Follow the dosage instruction that came with the medication from your physician. On average, it is 1,000 mg taken three times daily. 

Can Valtrex be used for shingles?

Yes. Valtrex is for the treatment of herpes zoster, which is the technical term for shingles. 

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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