Acyclovir is used for treating chickenpox (varicella) or shingles (herpes zoster) and treating or suppressing genital herpes infections. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Use Acyclovir as directed by your doctor.
Take Acyclovir by mouth with or without food.
Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Acyclovir is recommended.
Start therapy with Acyclovir at the earliest sign or symptom of shingles or genital herpes (pain, burning, blisters).
If treating an acute outbreak, continue using Acyclovir for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days.
For suppressive therapy, Acyclovir works best if it is taken at the same times each day.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Acyclovir.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Acyclovir is an antiviral. It works by stopping viral replication. However, Acyclovir does not eliminate the virus, is not a cure, and does not prevent transmission to others.
If you miss a dose of Acyclovir and are using it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Store Acyclovir between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Acyclovir out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Possible Side Effects
Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:
diarrhea; general body discomfort; headache; nausea/vomiting.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); aggressive behavior; blood in the urine; confusion; decreased consciousness; decreased urination; hallucinations; lower back pain; mental or mood changes; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; unusual bruising or bleeding.
If you have any questions about Acyclovir, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
Acyclovir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
Acyclovir - contraindications, warnings and precautions
Do not use Acyclovir if:
you are allergic to any ingredient in Acyclovir;
if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding;
if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement;
if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances;
if you have kidney problems or a weakened immune system.
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Acyclovir may cause drowsiness, dizziness, vision changes, or lightheadedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Acyclovir with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
Acyclovir may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
Acyclovir may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Acyclovir. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
Acyclovir is not a cure for genital herpes and will not prevent the virus from spreading. Avoid sexual intercourse when sores are present to prevent infecting your partner. You can also be contagious and spread the herpes virus but not have any signs or symptoms at all. This is called asymptomatic viral shedding.
Lab tests, including kidney function and serum urea nitrogen (BUN), may be performed while you use Acyclovir Capsules. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Acyclovir while you are pregnant. Acyclovir is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Acyclovir, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
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