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Another commonly used name is aciclovir.
Acyclovir (ay-SYE-kloe-veer) belongs to the family of medicines called antivirals, which are used to treat infections caused by viruses. Usually these medicines work for only one kind or group of virus infections.
Acyclovir is used to treat the symptoms of chickenpox, shingles, herpes virus infections of the genitals (sex organs), the skin, the brain, and mucous membranes (lips and mouth), and widespread herpes virus infections in newborns. Acyclovir is also used to prevent recurrent genital herpes infections. Although acyclovir will not cure herpes, it does help relieve the pain and discomfort and helps the sores (if any) heal faster.
Acyclovir may also be used for other virus infections as determined by your doctor. However, it does not work in treating certain virus infections, such as the common cold.
Acyclovir is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For acyclovir, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to acyclovir or valacyclovir. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, sulfites or other preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy- Acyclovir has been used in pregnant women and has not been reported to cause birth defects or other problems. However, studies have not been done in humans. Studies in rats and rabbits have shown that acyclovir given by injection may keep the fetus from becoming attached to the lining of the uterus (womb). However, acyclovir has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in mice given many times the usual human dose, or in rats or rabbits given several times the usual human dose.
Breast-feeding- Acyclovir passes into breast milk. However, it has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.
Children- A limited number of studies have been done using oral acyclovir in children, and it has not caused different effects or problems in children than it does in adults.
Older adults- Agitation, confusion, dizziness, and drowsiness may be especially likely to occur in elderly patients who are usually more sensitive than younger adults to the central nervous system effects of acyclovir.
Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in many cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, changes in dose or other precautions may be necessary. If you are taking acyclovir it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of acyclovir. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Patient information about the treatment of herpes, chickenpox, or shingles is available with this medicine. Read it carefully before using this medicine.
Acyclovir is best used as soon as possible after the symptoms of herpes infection or shingles (for example, pain, burning, blisters) begin to appear .
If you are taking acyclovir for the treatment of chickenpox , it is best to start taking acyclovir as soon as possible after the first sign of the chickenpox rash , usually within one day.
Acyclovir capsules, tablets, and oral suspension may be taken with meals or on an empty stomach.
Acyclovir is best taken with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.
If you are using acyclovir oral suspension , use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to measure each dose accurately. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
To help clear up your herpes infection, chickenpox, or shingles, keep taking acyclovir for the full time of treatment , even if your symptoms begin to clear up after a few days. Do not miss any doses . However, do not use this medicine more often or for a longer time than your doctor ordered .
The dose of acyclovir will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of acyclovir. Your dose may be different if you have kidney disease. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The number of capsules or tablets or teaspoonfuls of suspension that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are taking acyclovir .
If you do miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
The areas affected by herpes, chickenpox, or shingles should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Also, wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritating the sores (blisters).
It is important to remember that acyclovir will not keep you from spreading herpes to others .
Herpes infection of the genitals can be caught from or spread to your partner during any sexual activity. Even though you may get herpes if your partner has no symptoms, the infection is more likely to be spread if sores are present. This is true until the sores are completely healed and the scabs have fallen off. Therefore, it is best to avoid any sexual activity if either you or your sexual partner has any symptoms of herpes . The use of a latex condom (****œrubber"') may help prevent the spread of herpes. However, spermicidal (sperm-killing) jelly or a diaphragm will probably not help.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:More common--For acyclovir injection only
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although not specifically included in product labeling, acyclovir by injection is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:
Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for these uses.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT