Aciclovir, also known as Acyclovir, is an antiviral medication. The drug is used to treat infections caused by several viruses, such as the herpes simplex virus (which causes genital herpes) and varicella-zoster virus (which causes chickenpox and shingles). Genital herpes is a pretty serious condition which affects up to 16 percent of people between the ages of 14 and 49.
How Does Aciclovir Work?
Aciclovir belongs to the group of drugs known as antivirals, this means that it works by stopping the growth of the viruses that cause the infection. By preventing the viruses from multiplying, Aciclovir reduces the severity of herpes simplex, chicken pox, and shingles. It also stops the cirrus from spreading.
Aciclovir does not kill the virus that causes infections, it only reduces the severity of the infection and stops it from spreading. It helps the infection heal faster and lessens pain and itching. The drug is also used to prevent viral infections in people with a weakened immune system, such as if you are receiving chemotherapy.
Aciclovir and Genital Herpes
Aciclovir tablets uk is a very common drug used as the first line of treatment for genital Herpes or simply herpes. It is also one of the oldest drugs used to treat herpes simplex virus. Acyclovir is available as a generic, made by several companies, or under the brand name Zovirax, made by GlaxoSmithKline.
The drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of several viral infections including the varicella virus which causes chicken pox and shingles, as well as infections from the virus that causes genital herpes.
Dosage of Aciclovir
Aciclovir comes in different dosages (from 200 milligrams to 800 milligrams). The dosage administered will be different for different people, depending on the type of infection and whether it is used to treat or prevent an infection. Aciclovir is available in tablet, capsule, and liquid form. Your doctor will calculate the dose suitable for you.
When Aciclovir is used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes, it is usually taken two to five times a day for up to 12 months. 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.
Depending on the dosage, Aciclovir should be taken 2 to 5 times a day. The drug should always be taken exactly as your doctor has told you. If gotten over the counter, the pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much Aciclovir to take, how often to take it. Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking Aciclovir.
How Should Aciclovir be Used?
Acyclovir is available as a tablet, a capsule, and a suspension (liquid) to be taken by mouth. The drug should be taken at around the same times every day. 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.
While your symptoms should improve during your treatment with Aciclovir, you should take it until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking acyclovir too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated or may become more difficult to treat.
What Should I Do if I Forget a Dose or Overdoes?
If you forget a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. After that take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Taking double dosage of Aciclovir can leave severe side effects, so as much possible do not take more than one dosage. Taking an overdose of Aciclovir can cause, agitation, seizure, extreme tiredness, loss of consciousness, swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, and decreased urination. If this happens, contact your doctor immediately.
Who Should Not Take Aciclovir?
Sometimes certain medications are not suitable for a person with certain conditions or it can only be used with extra care.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
- People with kidneys problems
- People who have had an allergic reaction to medicine before
- People taking several medications. Your doctor should know the medications you are on before prescribing the drug. This is because Aciclovir may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting Aciclovir or before starting any new medicines.
Possible Side effects of Aciclovir
Aciclovir may be the first line of defense for treating herpes, but like many other medicines, the drug can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. More often than not, these side effects improve as your body gets used to the drug.
The most common side effects are; nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, tiredness, muscle or joint aches, visual changes, fluid retention, hair loss, and confusion. These side effects are usually mild and short-lived.
Taking Aciclovir can result in some more serious side effects. If you notice any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away: Severe rash, hives, or a rash that causes blisters and peeling, yellowing of skin or eyes, unusual bleeding or bruising, seizures, loss of consciousness, swelling of face, lips, or tongue, difficulty breathing, decreased urine output or blood in the urine, extreme sleepiness or confusion, hallucinations, and stomach pain.
Other Uses of Aciclovir
Doctors sometime prescribe Acyclovir for the treatment of eczema herpeticum (a skin infection caused by the herpes virus) to treat and prevent herpes infections of the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and to treat oral hairy leukoplakia (condition that causes hairy white or gray-colored patches on the tongue or inside of the cheek).