Valtrex During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Can Pregnant Women Take Valtrex?
Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is generally considered safe for pregnant women. Animal studies show that this medication does not likely cause harm on the unborn child and the outcome of pregnancy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Valtrex as Pregnancy Category B medication which means that it has not been adequately studies in pregnant humans, but animal studies suggest that it may be safe for the fetus.
However, since animal studies do not always predict how humans will respond to a certain medication, Valtrex should be given to a pregnant woman only if the perceived benefits outweigh the potential risks. It should also be given only under the prescription of a healthcare provider.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) supports the FDA’s pregnancy classification of Valrex. According to its practice guideline for managing herpes in pregnancy, oral antiviral treatments for herpes, such as valacyclovir (Valtrex), may be used to help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms and viral shedding. Furthermore, the guideline recommends that more severe cases of herpetic infections may be treated with oral antiviral drugs for more than 10 days in case the lesions do not heal. To prevent transmission of herpes in women with recurrent genital herpes, suppressive viral therapy may be given at or after 36 weeks of gestation.
If you become pregnant or are planning to become pregnant while taking Valtrex, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. Depending on your particular situation, your healthcare provider may recommend continuing or stopping the medication.
Can Breastfeeding Women Take Valtrex?
Yes, Valtrex may be taken by breastfeeding women. The manufacturer recommends that this medication be prescribed to breastfeeding women only when there is a clear need. Also, caution should be taken when using this medication while breastfeeding.
Studies show that small amounts of valacyclovir are excreted into the breast milk. However, the amount is negligible enough to cause harm or risk on the breastfed child.
Breastfeeding women who have herpes lesions on the breast are advised not to breast-feed their infants. In addition, HIV-infected mothers should not breast-feed their infant because of the increased risk of transmission of HIV through the breast milk.