What is Acyclovir?
Acyclovir is an antiviral drug used in the treatment of Herpes. It reduces the rate of growth of the Herpes virus so that the body can fight off the infection. Acyclovir is prescribed for the treatment of infections caused by herpes viruses in adults and children such as genital herpes, cold sores, shingles, and chickenpox. This medicine however, will not cure the body from the virus. It will only reduce the symptoms of the infection.
Acyclovir is sold under various trade names, some of which are Zovirax, Ocuvir (made by FDC), Herpex (made by Torrent Pharma), and Acivir (made by Cipla). It is available in tablets and cream form. Acyclovir cream is used to treat cold sores or fever blisters. It speeds up healing of the spores and decrease symptoms like tingling, pain, burning and itching.
Important Information about Acyclovir
Do not use Acyclovir cream or take Acyclovir tablets if you are allergic to it or to a similar Herpes medicine called Valacyclovir. Prior to taking Acyclovir Herpes medicine (Zovirax, Ocuvir, Acivir, Herpex), inform your doctor if you have other drug allergies or kidney disease. This medicine may be damaging to kidneys, and the effects increase greatly when it is used together with other drugs that also harm kidneys. You must inform your doctor about all medicines which you are using.
Treatment with Acyclovir must start as quickly as possible after the first symptoms are noticed such as tingling, burning, or blisters. This medicine will not stop the Herpes virus from spreading. The virus is very contagious and can spread from person to person even while taking Acyclovir.
Acyclovir is an FDA pregnancy category B drug. It is not expected to harm an unborn baby when taken during pregnancy. However, Herpes can pass on to a child from his or her mother during birth. If you have genital herpes, then it is very important to prevent herpes lesions during pregnancy so that you do not have it during childbirth. Acyclovir can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Do not take this medicine without your doctor’s advice if you are breast feeding. Talk to your doctor about the specific risks of Acyclovir if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breast feeding.
Before taking Acyclovir
Before taking Acyclovir, take care of all precautions mentioned above and discuss the points with your doctor. Do not hesitate to ask any question to your doctor which you may have about this drug.
How should I take Acyclovir?
Use Acyclovir Herpes medication (Zovirax, Ocuvir, Acivir, Herpex) strictly according to your doctor’s direction or according to the instructions on the medication label.
Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Also, do not take this medication after the prescribed period is over. All medications come with a patient leaflet. Refer the instructions in them for detailed information on that particular medication.
Take Acyclovir tablet with or without food, or as directed by your doctor. Ensure that you take plenty of water with this medicine to help your kidneys function properly. Apply the cream form of Acyclovir as directed by your doctor or as per the instructions on the medication label. Herpes lesions must be kept dry and clean and loose clothing must be worn to prevent irritation of the lesions. Store this medication in a cool and dry place.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Acyclovir, take it as soon as you remember. Don’t take the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up. Taking multiple doses near to each other can lead to excess medication in your body which can be harmful.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Acyclovir, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor immediately. Overdose may cause seizures, hallucinations, decreased urination or no urination at all.
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Acyclovir
Acyclovir will not help your body get rid of the Herpes virus. Chances of spreading the virus will still remain the same through unprotected sex, or contact with other people. So avoid these things. Also avoid touching your eyes after touching an infected area.
Acyclovir Side Effects
Some common side effects of Acyclovir are nausea, stomach pain, headache, or dizziness. If these effects persist or worsen, get medical attention right away.
Acyclovir may, in rare case cause a dangerous disorder that affects the blood cells, kidney and other parts of the body, especially when you have a compromised immunity due to HIV, bone marrow transplant, or kidney transplant. Get immediate medical attention if you have serious side effects such as extreme tiredness, slow/fast or irregular heartbeat, easy bruising or bleeding, new fever, bloody or dark urine, severe stomach or abdominal pain, jaundice, sudden vision changes, loss of consciousness, or seizures.
The side effects mentioned above are not the only ones that you may experience or witness due to Acyclovir. If you get any serious side effects due to this medication, contact your doctor right away.
Acyclovir Dosing Information
Acyclovir dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Your dosage will be determined by your doctor after examining you properly. Remember to follow your doctor’s advice properly for best results.
Interaction with other drugs
Some drugs can interact with Acyclovir. For example: Probenecid. If you are already taking Probenecid, you may not be able to take Acyclovir or may need special dose adjustments. There may be other medicines as well which can interact with Acyclovir. Inform your doctor about all other medicines which you may be using. Never start a new medication without consulting your doctor first.