Valacyclovir Hydrochloride (Page 4 of 8)


No clinically significant drug-drug or drug-food interactions with valacyclovir hydrochloride are known [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].


8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category B. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of valacyclovir hydrochloride or acyclovir in pregnant women. Based on prospective pregnancy registry data on 749 pregnancies, the overall rate of birth defects in infants exposed to acyclovir in-utero appears similar to the rate for infants in the general population. Valacyclovir hydrochloride should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
A prospective epidemiologic registry of acyclovir use during pregnancy was established in 1984 and completed in April 1999. There were 749 pregnancies followed in women exposed to systemic acyclovir during the first trimester of pregnancy resulting in 756 outcomes. The occurrence rate of birth defects approximates that found in the general population. However, the small size of the registry is insufficient to evaluate the risk for less common defects or to permit reliable or definitive conclusions regarding the safety of acyclovir in pregnant women and their developing fetuses.Animal reproduction studies performed at oral doses that provided up to 10 and 7 times the human plasma levels during the period of major organogenesis in rats and rabbits, respectively, revealed no evidence of teratogenicity.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

Following oral administration of a 500 mg dose of valacyclovir hydrochloride to 5 nursing mothers, peak acyclovir concentrations (Cmax ) in breast milk ranged from 0.5 to 2.3 times (median 1.4) the corresponding maternal acyclovir serum concentrations. The acyclovir breast milk AUC ranged from 1.4 to 2.6 times (median 2.2) maternal serum AUC. A 500 mg maternal dosage of valacyclovir hydrochloride twice daily would provide a nursing infant with an oral acyclovir dosage of approximately 0.6 mg/kg/day. This would result in less than 2% of the exposure obtained after administration of a standard neonatal dose of 30 mg/kg/day of intravenous acyclovir to the nursing infant. Unchanged valacyclovir was not detected in maternal serum, breast milk, or infant urine. Caution should be exercised when valacyclovir hydrochloride is administered to a nursing woman.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Valacyclovir hydrochloride is indicated for treatment of cold sores in pediatric patients ≥12 years of age and for treatment of chickenpox in pediatric patients 2 to <18 years of age [see Indications and Usage (1.2), Dosage and Administration (2.2)].
The use of valacyclovir hydrochloride for treatment of cold sores is based on 2 double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials in healthy adults and adolescents (≥12 years of age) with a history of recurrent cold sores [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].
The use of valacyclovir hydrochloride for treatment of chickenpox in pediatric patients 2 to <18 years of age is based on single-dose pharmacokinetic and multiple-dose safety data from an open-label trial with valacyclovir and supported by efficacy and safety data from 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials evaluating oral acyclovir in pediatric patients with chickenpox [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Adverse Reactions (6.2), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3), Clinical Studies (14.4)].
The efficacy and safety of valacyclovir have not been established in pediatric patients:

  • <12 years of age with cold sores
  • <18 years of age with genital herpes
  • <18 years of age with herpes zoster
  • <2 years of age with chickenpox
  • for suppressive therapy following neonatal HSV infection.

The pharmacokinetic profile and safety of valacyclovir oral suspension in children <12 years of age were studied in 3 open-label studies. No efficacy evaluations were conducted in any of the 3 studies.
Study 1 was a single-dose pharmacokinetic, multiple-dose safety study in 27 pediatric patients 1 to <12 years of age with clinically suspected varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Adverse Reactions (6.2), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3), Clinical Studies (14.4)].
Study 2 was a single-dose pharmacokinetic and safety study in pediatric patients 1 month to <6 years of age who had an active herpes virus infection or who were at risk for herpes virus infection. Fifty-seven subjects were enrolled and received a single dose of 25 mg/kg valacyclovir oral suspension. In infants and children 3 months to <6 years of age, this dose provided comparable systemic acyclovir exposures to that from a 1 gram dose of valacyclovir in adults (historical data). In infants 1 month to <3 months of age, mean acyclovir exposures resulting from a 25 mg/kg dose were higher (Cmax : ↑30%, AUC: ↑60%) than acyclovir exposures following a 1 gram dose of valacyclovir in adults. Acyclovir is not approved for suppressive therapy in infants and children following neonatal HSV infections; therefore valacyclovir is not recommended for this indication because efficacy cannot be extrapolated from acyclovir.Study 3 was a single-dose pharmacokinetic, multiple-dose safety study in 28 pediatric patients 1 to <12 years of age with clinically suspected HSV infection. None of the children enrolled in this study had genital herpes. Each subject was dosed with valacyclovir oral suspension, 10 mg/kg twice daily for 3 to 5 days. Acyclovir systemic exposures in pediatric patients following valacyclovir oral suspension were compared with historical acyclovir systemic exposures in immunocompetent adults receiving the solid oral dosage form of valacyclovir or acyclovir for the treatment of recurrent genital herpes. The mean projected daily acyclovir systemic exposures in pediatric patients across all age-groups (1 to <12 years of age) were lower (Cmax : ↓20%, AUC: ↓33%) compared with the acyclovir systemic exposures in adults receiving valacyclovir 500 mg twice daily, but were higher (daily AUC: ↑16%) than systemic exposures in adults receiving acyclovir 200 mg 5 times daily. Insufficient data are available to support valacyclovir for the treatment of recurrent genital herpes in this age-group because clinical information on recurrent genital herpes in young children is limited; therefore, extrapolating efficacy data from adults to this population is not possible. Moreover, valacyclovir has not been studied in children 1 to <12 years of age with recurrent genital herpes.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of valacyclovir hydrochloride, 906 were 65 and over, and 352 were 75 and over. In a clinical study of herpes zoster, the duration of pain after healing (post-herpetic neuralgia) was longer in patients 65 and older compared with younger adults. Elderly patients are more likely to have reduced renal function and require dose reduction. Elderly patients are also more likely to have renal or CNS adverse events [see Dosage and Administration (2.4), Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.3), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

8.6 Renal Impairment

Dosage reduction is recommended when administering valacyclovir hydrochloride to patients with renal impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2.4), Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.3)].


Caution should be exercised to prevent inadvertent overdose [see Use in Specific Populations (8.5), (8.6)]. Precipitation of acyclovir in renal tubules may occur when the solubility (2.5 mg/mL) is exceeded in the intratubular fluid. In the event of acute renal failure and anuria, the patient may benefit from hemodialysis until renal function is restored [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].


Valacyclovir hydrochloride is the hydrochloride salt of the L -valyl ester of the antiviral drug acyclovir.
Valacyclovir tablets, USP are for oral administration. Each tablet contains valacyclovir hydrochloride USP (hydrous) equivalent to 500 mg or 1 gram valacyclovir and the inactive ingredients crospovidone, FD&C blue #2/indigo carmine aluminum lake, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, povidone, and titanium dioxide.The chemical name of valacyclovir hydrochloride is L -valine, 2-[(2-amino-1,6-dihydro-6-oxo-9H -purin-9-yl)methoxy]ethyl ester, monohydrochloride. It has the following structural formula:

Chemical Structure
(click image for full-size original)

Valacyclovir hydrochloride USP (hydrous) is a white or almost white powder with the molecular formula C13 H20 N6 O4 •HCl and a molecular weight of 360.80. The maximum solubility in water at 25°C is 174 mg/mL. The pka s for valacyclovir hydrochloride are 1.90, 7.47, and 9.43.

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