Acyclovir is a synthetic nucleoside analogue medication categorized as an antiviral agent. Its primary purpose is to reduce pain and accelerate the healing process of sores or blisters in individuals who have chickenpox, herpes zoster (shingles), and first-time or recurrent episodes of genital herpes. Acyclovir is occasionally prescribed as a preventive measure for genital herpes outbreaks in infected individuals.
The mechanism of action of acyclovir entails inhibition of the herpes virus spread within the body. While acyclovir may alleviate symptoms associated with genital herpes, it is not a cure, and it may not prevent the transmission of the infection to others.
Uses and Dosage
Take this medication orally with or without food, in accordance with your healthcare provider’s instructions, usually 2 to 5 times per day.
While taking this medication, consume plenty of fluids, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
If the liquid form of this medication is prescribed, ensure to shake the bottle well before each dose. Use a specialized measuring spoon or device to administer the dose precisely, rather than a household spoon that may result in an inaccurate dosage.
For best results, initiate treatment at the earliest sign of an outbreak, as recommended by your healthcare provider. Delaying treatment may lead to suboptimal effectiveness.
The appropriate dosage is determined based on your medical condition and response to therapy. In children, dosage is also dependent on weight.
To maintain constant drug levels in your body, administer this medication at evenly spaced intervals. To aid in remembering, take it at the same time every day.
Complete the full prescribed course of treatment, even if symptoms resolve earlier. Do not modify your dose, skip doses, or discontinue this medication prematurely without your physician’s approval.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- upset stomach
- pain, especially in the joints
- hair loss
- changes in vision
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- rash or blisters
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- fast heartbeat
- pale skin
- difficulty sleeping
- fever, sore throat, chills, cough, and other signs of infection
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- blood in the urine
- stomach pain or cramps
- bloody diarrhea
- decreased urination
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- aggressive behavior
- difficulty speaking
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs
- temporary inability to move parts of your body
- shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control
- loss of consciousness
Prior to taking acyclovir, notify your healthcare provider or pharmacist of any known allergies to this medication, valacyclovir, or any other substances. This product may contain inactive constituents that could cause allergic reactions or other complications.
Before initiating treatment with this medication, inform your doctor or pharmacist of your medical history, especially if you have kidney problems, or if you have any conditions associated with weakened immunity, such as HIV disease, bone marrow, or kidney transplant.
In some cases, this medication may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Alcohol or marijuana may exacerbate these effects. Refrain from driving, operating machinery, or engaging in any activity that necessitates alertness until it is safe to do so.
Without your doctor’s authorization, avoid receiving specific immunizations or vaccinations, such as those against the varicella virus.
In elderly individuals, kidney issues (changes in urine output, back or side pain), dizziness, drowsiness, and changes in mental or mood may be more prevalent.
Acyclovir does not protect against the transmission of genital herpes. To minimize the likelihood of transmitting the infection to your partner, abstain from sexual activity during an outbreak or when symptoms are present. It is still possible to transmit genital herpes even without noticeable symptoms. Utilize effective barrier methods (such as latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activities.
During pregnancy, use this medication only if the benefits outweigh the risks. Discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication can pass into breast milk. However, it is unlikely to cause harm to a nursing infant. Consult with your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Zovirax is available in the following forms and strengths:
How fast does Zovirax work?
For most infections, you should start to feel better after taking or using Zovirax for a few days.
Can Zovirax be taken long term?
Data suggest that long-term oral Zovirax use remains effective in decreasing the number of recurrences beyond 12 months.