For genital herpes:
To Treat Or Abort An Outbreak When There Are Early Symptoms (Prodrome)
Some patients use the medication to abort an outbreak. Whether oral or genital, people can take medication when their specific prodrome tells them an outbreak is on the horizon. The medication will stop an outbreak cold (often) and when it does not, it can shorten and make an outbreak milder than it might have been otherwise.
To Prevent Outbreaks When There Are No Symptoms But Outbreaks Are More Likely
Patients also learn the life circumstances or behaviors that lead to more outbreaks. For some, a lack of sleep, increased alcohol, another illness, stress, too much sunlight, irritation, or anything, in fact, that can affect one’s immunity can spur an outbreak. They know when they are more likely to have an outbreak due to their circumstances. They can avoid their triggers but they also might want to take medication preventatively knowing when they are more vulnerable. Essentially they might take the medication for a week or two until the circumstance that is making them more susceptible to an outbreak has resolved.
To Suppress Outbreaks For An Extended Period
Patients can take medication when they would like to do all they can to reduce their chance of having an outbreak. The classic example would be during a honeymoon, going on vacation, starting a new job, in a new relationship, or at any time a patient feels it is how they want to keep the chance of having an attack as low as possible.
To Prevent Transmission to An Uninfected Partner
One of the most important advances in herpes treatment came with the knowledge that transmission from an infected person to their uninfected partner could be reduced. Valacyclovir not only reduces the number of outbreaks a person experiences but it reduces asymptomatic shedding. That results in fewer uninfected partners catching herpes. If a condom is worn and the medication used, the chances are reduced at least in half compared to using a condom alone. Fewer outbreaks and fewer episodes of shedding means fewer people become infected.
For oral herpes:
To abort an outbreak at the earliest sign or symptom (Prodrome)
At that earliest sign, two tablets of Valacyclovir 1000 mg for a total of 2000 mg is taken by mouth as the first dose. Then, 12 hours later, 2 tablets of 1000 mg of Valacyclovir, for a total of 2000 mg, is taken as the second and final dose. The second dose can be taken sooner than 12 hours but never before 6 hours have passed. Adequate hydration makes sure the medicine is cleared through the kidneys as it should be.
The medication is only approved for two doses and there is no evidence for the use of medication once lesions have appeared.