What is Aciclovir?
Aciclovir tablets contain the active ingredient aciclovir, an antiviral medicine that is used to treat infections. Doctors prescribe this medicine to treat infections with the herpes simplex virus, the varicella zoster virus and the herpes genitalis virus. Aciclovir works by stopping the virus from reproducing and infecting more cells.
What is Aciclovir used for?
Aciclovir tablets are used in the treatment of cold sores, shingles and the STD genital herpes.
Cold sores have the following symptoms:
- Tender, burning or tingling sensation on or around the lips that develops into painful, fluid-filled blisters with scabs.
Genital herpes is characterised by:
- Itching and/or pain in the genital area, followed by blisters and sores with scabs.
Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. This virus stays dormant in the body and can reactivate years later, causing symptoms such as:
- Pain and itching sensation, typically on one side of the body, followed by redness of the skin and blisters.
In healthy people a herpes infection clears up within a few weeks. In some cases, usually among people with weakened immune systems, the virus may cause complications. Aciclovir slows down the growth of the above-mentioned viruses, thereby supporting the healing process while reducing the symptoms.
How to use Aciclovir
Aciclovir tablets should be swallowed whole with some liquid, either before, during or after meals. The medicine is typically prescribed as a five to seven-day course. It is important that you finish the entire course, even if you feel better.
Aciclovir tablets are available in various strengths. Strength and dosage regimen should be determined by a doctor.
The recommended dose for treating cold sores and genital herpes is:
- Adults and children aged 2 and above is: one 2-mg tablet five times a day at four-hourly intervals.
The recommended dose for treating singles is:
- Adults: one 800-mg tablet five times a day at four-hourly intervals.
Always follow the prescribed dosage and read the package leaflet closely before you start to use this medicine.
Aciclovir generally has few side effects, but in some cases it may cause:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, diarrhoea, stomach ache);
- Increased sensitivity of the skin to UV light.
For a complete list of side effects, see the package leaflet.
When not to use Aciclovir
Aciclovir is not suitable for everyone and should not be used if:
- you are allergic to aciclovir or any other ingredient in this medicine;
Consult a doctor on the use of Aciclovir if you suffer from neurosis, a liver disease or other serious illness.
Aciclovir may interact with other medicines, including some medications for gout, cancer and AIDS. The doctor will have a list of medicines that you should avoid mixing it with. For more information, see the package leaflet.
A standard course of Aciclovir can be safely used during pregnancy. Seek medical advice from your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
This medicine does not interact with alcohol or affect your ability to drive safely.