What is Acyclovir?

Acyclovir is a very efficient treatment that can be used to keep the herpes virus under control. This virus can affect any person and stay in the cells until the day it will manifest itself. Since this virus lives in the cells, it's impossible to cure, but with the help of Acyclovir it can be kept under control, with the risk of outbreaks reduced significantly. Your doctor may recommend Acyclovir for the treatment of herpes infections of the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth, shingles, genital herpes, cold sores, or chicken pox. There may be other of this medicine, but the ones mentioned are most likely ones. If you think you need Acyclovir for something else, it's best to get your doctor's opinion first.


Before you start using Acyclovir

Your doctor will want to know your full medical history of before prescribing Acyclovir, as that may matter for the dose you need to be taking. Please make sure you tell your doctor everything you know, with special emphasis on the conditions you have, such as human immunodeficiency virus infection, immune system problems, kidney disease, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The fact you have any of the health problems mentioned above may require additional testing, or you will need to be under constant monitoring of your health care provider.

Acyclovir treatment information

You will have to take the dose of Acyclovir prescribed every day, at the same time, usually from 2 to 5 times daily. It doesn't matter if you take Acyclovir with food or without, but taking some drug without food usually means it will take less time to absorb and will start acting sooner. To get best results of the treatment, you will need to start as soon as the first signs of infection appear. How long your treatment will take will need to be determined by your health care provider. It can be anywhere between a week and 12 months. Everything depends on what kind of herpes you are treating. Getting genital herpes under control can take longer, but that still does not mean you will not be contagious. Even after you stop the treatment (and certainly during it), having sex without protection is not recommended.

Side effects of Acyclovir treatment

Both mild and more serious side effects are possible when Acyclovir is used. You can continue taking Acyclovir if you get headache, stomach pain, lightheadedness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, swelling in your hands or feet, or loss of appetite, as those are considered mild side effects of Acyclovir. They usually go away on their own, and here is no need to tell your doctor about them. In case your mild side effects get more serious or do not go away for a few days, talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting your dose adjusted, as worsened side effects that were originally mild can mean the dose you are taking is too high. Call your doctor at once if you get such serious side effects as difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat, shaking, blisters, hives, rash, itching, unusual weakness, lower back pain, confusion, easy bleeding, urinating less than usual, seizures, hoarseness, or easy bruising, as your treatment may have to be reconsidered. Only you a qualified healthcare professional can do that.

Medications likely to interact with Acyclovir

You may be taking Acyclovir with other drug, but only if that was approved by your doctor. This has to do with the fact Acyclovir can interact with other treatments you are using, and your treatment may be less successful as a result. You will need to keep your doctor informed of any new treatments you would like to start, or are already going through at the moment of getting a prescription for Acyclovir. The following ones will be especially important to report: streptomycin, cyclosporine, tobramycin, pentamidine, trimethoprim, amikacin, sulfamethoxazole, tacrolimus, vancomycin, probenecid, HIV or AIDS medicine, kanamycin, paramomycin, gentamicin, neomycin, amphotericin B, and certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. You will most probably need to avoid the drugs mentioned to make sure you benefit from using Acyclovir.

Does Acyclovir harm an unborn child?

Acyclovir is unlikely to harm an unborn child and therefore can be taken safely during pregnancy. It has been classified as FDA pregnancy category B. There is not enough information on whether Acyclovir can affect the health of a nursing infant, so breastfeeding is not recommended.

If Acyclovir overdose occurs

You must never use more of Acyclovir than prescribed, as you are not likely to benefit from the treatment more that way. Make sure you seek emergency medical help in case you happened to use too much of Acyclovir and got such overdose symptoms as hallucinations, swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles, agitation, loss of consciousness, seizures, extreme tiredness, decreased urination, and trouble urinating.