Aciclovir is an antiviral medication used to treat infection caused by the herpes virus, including cold sores, genital herpes, chicken pox and shingles. It is available on prescription as an oral medication, or as a topical cream which can be bought over the counter, prescription-free.
People experiencing recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes or cold sores may chose to take Aciclovir tablets over a period of 6 to 12 months in a preventative capacity.
The herpes virus is contagious as long as symptoms of infection are present. It is best to avoid sex completely if you are experiencing symptoms of genital herpes.
Aciclovir is not a cure, but it does stop the virus from spreading, allowing symptoms to heal. Antiviral medication for genital herpes should be taken within 5 days of symptoms presenting and can shorten an outbreak period by 1 to 2 days.
The active ingredient is aciclovir - an antiviral agent.
The inactive ingredients of Aciclovir tablets are: magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycollate, pregelatinised starch and colloidal anhydrous silica.
Please Note: The inactive ingredients used can be different for different brands of generic medication.
To repress herpes outbreaks, 200mg tablets of Aciclovir tablets should be taken four times a day for the duration of the course. The prescribing doctor may temporarily stop your medication every 6-12 months as required.
These tablets contain 200mg of Aciclovir, this strength is used for the suppression of the herpes virus. Usually, a doctor will prescribe one 200mg tablet four times a day to reduce herpes outbreaks.
If you struggle to swallow Aciclovir tablets, they can be dispersed in a glass of water. One 200mg tablet should be dispersed in at least 50ml of water and swallowed. This may be a more appropriate when administering the medication to small children.
Your doctor may prescribe Aciclovir tablets if topical treatment is not sufficient for your symptoms. If you struggle to swallow the tables, they can be crushed and dispersed in water. One 200mg tablet should be dissolved in at least 50ml of water.
Common side effects of Aciclovir tablets are:
Rare side effects of Aciclovir tablets are:
If you experience any severe side effects or symptoms of an allergic reaction (breathing difficulties, itching, hives, rash) you should seek immediate medical attention. If you experience any prolonged side effects you should speak to the prescribing doctor.
You should not use Aciclovir if you are allergic to Aciclovir or Valaciclovir. If you are taking any other medication, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should inform the prescribing doctor.
You should inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have taken or are planning on taking any other medications, including over the counter or prescription-free medications.
Aciclovir is not recommended for women during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant, you should disclose this to the prescribing doctor.
Aciclovir, has been found to pass into breastmilk, although it is not thought of as harmful to a nursing infant. Speak to your doctor for advice before beginning treatment.
Aciclovir can be used both as a topical cream - which is available to buy over the counte -, or as an oral medication - which is only available on prescription. Aciclovir cream is usually sufficient treatment for cold sores, but should not be used inside the vagina, mouth or eyes. For more serious outbreaks of herpes infection, such as genital herpes, or for preventing chronic outbreaks, your doctor may prescribe Aciclovir tablets for a period of time.
Use of non-prescription Aciclovir cream can help treat the irritation caused by genital herpes, as can the following measures which you can take as home:
Aciclovir is not an antibiotic. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Herpes is a viral infection, therefore Aciclovir is an antiviral medication.
There is some evidence that taking Aciclovir can interfere in a drug tests, including urine tests. However, this depends on the type of test and what you are being tested for. Speak to your doctor for more information if you are worried about this issue.
Aciclovir is not considered to be addictive, but you should take care not to exceed the stated dose.
Infection with HPV can cause genital herpes. Aciclovir tablets can be used to treat symptoms, but it is vital to be tested for infection in any case. HPV can lead to much more serious complications, such as cervical cancer. Girls aged 12-13 are offered free vaccinations against HPV by the NHS, and women aged 35-64 are offered cervical screening to check for abnormal cells in the cervix.
Aciclovir can be used to treat shingles, which is caused by the herpes zoster virus. For treating shingles, Aciclovir is most effective in tablet form and helps slow down the progress of the shingles rash if taken within the first 72 hours of experiencing symptoms.