Acyclovir

Where is Acyclovir used?

Acyclovir is an FDA-approved medication used for the treatment of infections caused by herpes viruses such as:

  • Genital herpes
  • Shingles
  • Chickenpox

This medication helps slow the development of the virus in your body. Also, this helps lessen the number of future episodes in people with frequent outbreaks.

How does Acyclovir work?

Acyclovir is an antiviral medication that attacks herpes viruses that causes the infection. The herpes viruses include the virus that causes genital herpes, shingles, and chickenpox. This medication works by preventing these herpes viruses from infecting more cells. This controls the infection and helps the immune system to deal with it.

It may take up to two hours for this medicine to reach peak plasma concentrations after taking it. It may also take three days for the symptoms to lessen and relieve. However, this medicine must be taken until the full course is completed. Acyclovir works best when started taking within 48 hours as the symptoms appear.

How is Acyclovir taken?

Acyclovir is available in the dosage forms of 200 mg, 400 mg, and 800 mg. It is important to take this exactly as it is given by your doctor. Do not take it more or less than the prescription.

  • For genital herpes: The usual initial dosage is 200 mg taken five times a day, every four hours for ten days.
  • For shingles: The typical dosage is 800 mg taken five times a day, every four hours for seven to ten days.
  • For chickenpox: You can take 800 mg for five days, four times a day.

Start taking this medication as soon as the first symptom appears. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This will help keep the level of the medicine from building up too much in your body. Acyclovir is used for short-term treatment and long-term treatment on recurring genital herpes. Carefully follow every dose that is given by your doctor.

What are the precautions in taking Acyclovir?

  • You need to stay well hydrated while taking this medicine. If you don’t drink enough water, the medicine might harm your kidneys.
  • For your kidney function, your doctor may do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are. Your doctor may lower your dose if your kidney doesn’t work well.
  • It is possible to have dangerous levels of this medicine in your body and you might experience more severe side effects. If you have any overdose symptoms, call for emergency help right away.
  • Your skin might be more sensitive to the sun which increases your risk of sunburn while taking Acyclovir. For this reason, you need to avoid the sun if you can and make sure to apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing.
  • If you missed your dose in a day, take it as you remember. However, if you remember it a few hours before your next dose, forget the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Never try catching up by taking two doses at once.
  • Herpes infections can easily infect other people even while having this treatment. Therefore, avoid touching an infected area, your eyes, or allowing infected parts to come into contact with other people. Wash your hands more often to prevent passing the infection to others.