Valtrex vs. Lysine

Genital herpes, caused by the herpes simplex virus, is a common sexually transmitted disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16.2 percent of Americans 14 to 49 years of age have genital herpes type 2. Type 2 is the most common cause of genital herpes, while type 1 usually occurs as what are described as "fever blisters" around the mouth. Initial outbreaks may include painful blisters on the genitals or lips. Although there is no cure, over time outbreaks tend to become less frequent and less severe. Valtrex and lysine are two treatments for herpes caused by either type. Before taking any prescription medications or alternative medicine treatments, consult your health care provider.

There is no cure for herpes, but it can be managed with medication. (Image: studiodr/iStock/Getty Images)


Valtrex, generic name valacyclovir, is an antiviral drug used to treat herpes and other infections caused by the herpes virus, including chickenpox and shingles. Valtrex can cause kidney damage and should be used with caution if you have kidney disease or are on dialysis. If you have HIV/AIDS, a weak immune system or a bone marrow or kidney transplant, tell your doctor before taking Valtrex. Stop taking Valtrex and notify your doctor if you have any serious side effects that can damage red blood cells such as fever, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, easy bruising or bleeding or pale or yellowed skin. You should also report decreased urination or no urine output.


Lysine is an essential amino acid that the body does not produce. It must be ingested either in food or supplements. Fish, yogurt, cheese, pork and wheat germ are some food sources. Lysine has been used to treat herpes, cold and canker sores and Bell's palsy. The FDA has not approved lysine to treat any disease. Lysine may become toxic if taken with certain medications including gentamicin, tobramycin and others. Before taking lysine, consult your health care provider.


Lysine supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same manner as prescription drugs. The supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its product is safe before marketing. The FDA only takes action against unsafe supplements after they reach the market. The FDA does not require manufacturers to register their products or get FDA approval before selling dietary supplements.

Preventing Herpes

Herpes can be spread even if there are no visible blisters. The only sure way to prevent genital herpes is by abstaining from sexual contact. Using condoms may help lessen the spread of herpes, but that practice is not guaranteed to free you from all danger of infection. A mutually monogamous relationship in which both partners have been tested and are free of the virus can help minimize the spread of all sexually transmitted diseases.

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