What is Acyclovir?
Acyclovir is an antiviral drug.
It slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus in the body.
It will not cure herpes, but it can lessen the symptoms of the infection.
Take acyclovir for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor.
Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated.
Treatment with acyclovir should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters).
Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people, even while you are being treated with acyclovir. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent passing the infection to others.
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Acyclovir is used to decrease pain and speed the healing of sores or blisters in people who have varicella (chickenpox)), herpes zoster (shingles; a rash that can occur in people who have had chickenpox in the past), and first-time or repeat outbreaks of genital herpes (a herpes virus infection that causes sores to form around the genitals and rectum from time to time). Acyclovir is also sometimes used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes in people who are infected with the virus. Acyclovir is in a class of antiviral medications called synthetic nucleoside analogues. It works by stopping the spread of the herpes virus in the body. Acyclovir will not cure genital herpes and may not stop the spread of genital herpes to other people.
How Do I Take Acyclovir
Acyclovir comes as a tablet, a capsule, and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food two to five times a day for 5 to 10 days, starting as soon as possible after your symptoms begin. When acyclovir is used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes, it is usually taken two to five times a day for up to 12 months.
Take acyclovir at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take acyclovir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
Acyclovir Side Effects
Acyclovir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- pain, especially in the joints
- hair loss
- changes in vision
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- rash or blisters
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue
- fast heartbeat
- pale skin
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