Aciclovir Cream

Order Aciclovir 5% cream to heal cold sores

Aciclovir is an antiviral medicine that treats herpes infections which cause cold sores. Alternatively, you can get aciclovir tablets.

Our prices

Strength Quantity Price Stock
5%1 x 2g tube£7.99In Stock
5%2 x 2g tubes£13.99In Stock
5%1 x 10g tube£18.99In Stock
Prices exclude a prescription fee. This treatment requires a quick online consultation,
which a doctor will review to determine if a prescription is appropriate.

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Information

Virginia Chachati

Reviewed by Virginia Chachati MPharm
(2013, University College London)
GPhC Registration number: 2087654

Information last reviewed 10/04/21

About

What is Aciclovir cream?

Aciclovir is an antiviral medicine used to treat infections caused by the herpes virus such as cold sores. Aciclovir tablets are available on prescription or you can buy aciclovir cream over the counter at a pharmacy. Aciclovir cream is used for treating viral skin infections such as cold sores. Aciclovir cream cannot be used in a preventative capacity or for the treatment of genital herpes.

How long does it take for Aciclovir cream to work?

Aciclovir cream does not cure herpes or cold sores, but reduces the severity of outbreaks. This means you should feel less pain or irritation while your cold sore heals. Cold sores normally start healing within ten days, but applying aciclovir cream can help speed up this process.

Am I still contagious while using Aciclovir cream?

Cold sores are contagious as long as you have cold sore symptoms. Therefore, if you have a cold sore, you should avoid kissing anyone from the moment you first feel a tingling sensation right up until the cold sore has completely disappeared.

Ingredients

Active ingredients

The active ingredient in aciclovir cream is aciclovir. 1 g of cream contains 50 mg aciclovir (a concentration of 5%).

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in aciclovir cream are: stearoyl macrolglyceries, dimeticone, cetyl alcohol, liquid paraffin, white soft paraffin, propylene glycol and purified water.

Please Note: Inactive ingredients may differ between different brands of aciclovir cream. Please read the patient information leaflet provided for further details

Which ingredients can cause an allergic reaction?

Facial or lip swelling, development of a rash/hives, severe dizziness, chest tightness and trouble breathing are symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, but it is rare to experience an allergic reaction to this cream. However, it is important to visit your local emergency department to get immediate medical attention if you notice any of the symptoms above.

Dosage

How to use Aciclovir cream?

Use aciclovir cream as soons as the cold sore infection appears. Wash your hands with soap and water before applying aciclovir cream. Gently apply a small amount of aciclovir cream to the cold sore. You should apply aciclovir cream five times per day for five days. Try to leave a four hour gap between each application. After five days, the infection may not have cleared, so you can continue to apply the cream for five more days.

Aciclovir cream dosage

You should apply a thin layer of aciclovir cream to the cold sore five times per day . Try to leave a four hour gap between each application. It normally takes five days for aciclovir cream to clear a cold sore infection, but you can use it for a further five days if needed. Aciclovir cream should only be applied to your skin and not inside your mouth or nose.

Side Effects

Aciclovir cream side effects

Aciclovir cream can cause side effects in some people. 
Uncommon side effects, which affect less than 1 in 100 people, include:

  • A burning or stinging feeling after applying the cream
  • Itching
  • Drying or flaking of the skin
  • Rare side effects, affecting less than 1 in 1,000 people, include:
  • Redness of the skin
  • Skin rash
  • Very rarely, a patient may experience an allergic reaction to aciclovir cream. Stop using aciclovir cream immediately and seek emergency medical attention if you experience the following:
  • Rash
  • Itchy skin
  • Red, blistering skin
  • Swelling of the lips, face or eyes or eyelids
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Contraindications

You should not use aciclovir cream if you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed. Do not apply aciclovir cream to the inside of the mouth, nose, eyes or vagina. Therefore, you cannot use aciclovir cream to treat mouth ulcers or infections near or around your eyes. You should see your doctor if your cold sore is bigger than usual, very painful or the aciclovir cream has not worked after ten days.

If your immune system is weak or compromised, for example if you are receiving cancer treatment, have had a bone marrow transplant or are being treated for a HIV infection, seek your doctor’s advice before using aciclovir cream.

Drug interactions

You should inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have taken or are planning on taking any other medicines, including over the counter medicines or medicines you have bought without a prescription.

Aciclovir and pregnancy

Speak to your doctor for advice before using aciclovir cream if you are pregnant or planning a baby.

Aciclovir cream and breastfeeding

Speak to your doctor for advice before using aciclovir cream if you are breastfeeding.

Treatment Options

Aciclovir Tablets vs Aciclovir Cream

Aciclovir can be applied as a cream, which is available to buy over the counter at a pharmacy. Aciclovir is also available as an oral medicine, such as tablets or a liquid, but only on prescription. Aciclovir cream is a treatment for cold sores, but should not be used inside the vagina, mouth, nose or eyes. For other herpes infections, such as genital herpes, or for preventing chronic outbreaks, your doctor may prescribe Aciclovir tablets.

Non-prescription alternatives to aciclovir cream

You can buy aciclovir cream over the counter at a pharmacy, but the strength of the cream may vary. However, there are some measures you can take at home to help heal cold sores:

  • Avoid eating food which is piping hot, spicy or acidic
  • Try to eat food which is soft in texture - avoid abrasive or sharp edged foods like crisps or crackers
  • Avoid eating foods that trigger your cold sores
  • Wash your hands regularly with water and soap, especially before and after applying aciclovir cream
  • Use a lip balm containing SPF 15 or higher to protect cold sores from sun exposure which can lead to scarring - do not share this lip balm with other people to avoid passing on the cold sore infection to them
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash
  • Consider taking a painkiller to reduce pain and swelling of the infected area

Q&A

Is Aciclovir addictive?

Aciclovir cream is not considered to be addictive. Use aciclovir cream only when you have a cold sore infection and as soon as it starts. If you use aciclovir cream for ten days and the infection has not cleared, then please see your doctor for further advice.

Is Aciclovir an antibiotic?

Aciclovir is an antiviral medicine which is used to treat viral infections. Aciclovir is not an antibiotic so it cannot be used to treat bacterial infections.

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