What is Aciclovir and how does it work?
Aciclovir belongs to a group of medications called antivirals.
They work by stopping the growth and reproduction of the virus, helping your body to fight the infection.
Aciclovir can be used to treat a number of different types of viral infections including:
· Chickenpox and shingles
· Cold sores
· Genital herpes and other herpes simplex infections
Aciclovir can also help to stop the recurrence of these infections once used.
Genital herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (type 1 and type 2) and is spread through sexual contact. Aciclovir tablets can be used effectively to treat genital herpes in adults and to prevent any recurrent attacks in the future.
What are the cautions with Aciclovir?
Tell the doctor if you have a history of kidney problems, pregnant or breast-feeding or if you are taking any of the following medication:
· Probenicid (used to treat gout)
· Cimetidine (used to treat stomach ulcers)
· Mycophenolate mofetil (used to stop your body rejecting transplant organs)
This will help the doctor decide if the treatment is suitable for you.
What is the dosage of Aciclovir?
The usual dose of Aciclovir for treating herpes simplex is 200mg taken five times a day for 5-days.
The dose should ideally be spaced out evenly throughout the day (approximately 4-5 hours apart).
In some cases the herpes virus is not removed completely, and it can remain in the body for long periods without causing any symptoms. If the symptoms return again, this is known as “recurrent outbreaks”.
If you suffer from six or more herpes simplex outbreaks a year, suppression treatment may be more suitable for you.
Suppression treatment is taken every day on a regular basis. It can prevent the reoccurrence of herpes simplex by 70-80% and in some cases can stop outbreaks occurring altogether.
The usual dose for suppression treatment is 200mg taken four times a day, but can be taken less often. Your doctor will advise you on the most suitable dose.
(If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose). Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
What are the side effects with Aciclovir?
Like all medications, Aciclovir can cause side effects, but not everyone will get them.
The following are some of the common side effects seen with Aciclovir:
· Skin rash
· Stomach pains
If you have an allergic reaction to Aciclovir, stop taking it and contact your doctor immediately.
Symptoms of allergic reactions can include:
· Rash, itching or hives on your skin
· Swelling of your face, lips, tongue or other parts of your body
· Shortness of breath, wheezing or trouble breathing