Aciclovir is commonly prescribed to treat and prevent a recurring attack of herpes, e.g. cold sores and genital herpes. It can also be used to protect those who suffer from low immune systems from contracting the herpes virus.


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What is Aciclovir?

Aciclovir belongs to a group of antiviral medicines. It is commonly prescribed to treat and prevent a recurring attack of herpes, e.g. cold sores and genital herpes. It can also be used to protect those who suffer from low immune systems from contracting the herpes virus. Although it is not possible for a medication to cure the herpes virus, Aciclovir works to slow the growth and spreading of the virus around your body. As a result of this, it will lesson your symptoms of the infection.

Doctors may also prescribe Aciclovir to treat shingles and chicken pox as they are also caused by the herpes virus, varicella zoster. Depending on how you prefer to administer your medicine and what your ailment is, Aciclovir can be bought as a cream or tablet form. At Medicine Direct we sell the tablet form of Aciclovir in the dosage of 400mg.

What is Aciclovir used for?

Aciclovir can be used for a number of conditions, it is primarily used to treat the below:

Herpes Simplex Virus - To use Aciclovir to treat Genital Herpes you will either be instructed to take 200mg Aciclovir five times a day, between four hour intervals, for example at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and 11pm. It may have to be a prolonged course past the usual five days if your condition does not improve. Alternatively, you may be advised to take a stronger dose of 400mg.

Shingles - A doctor will instruct you to take Aciclovir for 7 days to treat shingles. This will be issued in 800mg dosages, five times a day within four hour intervals. For instance, following the pattern of 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm and 10pm.

Herpes Prophylactic treatment – If you are regularly suffering from Herpes breakouts your doctor or GP will advise you to take either 200mg four times a day or 400mg twice day to prevent a return of herpes. This is more common in individuals that suffer with a low immune system.

How do you take Aciclovir 400mg tablets?

It is important to not open the tablet from its packet until you are ready to take it. It is recommended to consume the tablet with plenty of fluids such as water.

  • You should take Aciclovir as soon as you start to experience the first sign of symptoms occurring
  • Aciclovir will typically get to work within a few days, symptoms should then begin to subside
  • You should always wash your hands before and after use due to the contagious nature of herpes

These tablets are effective in treating the herpes simplex virus, preventing the recurrence of herpes and reducing the possibility of patients who suffer with a low immune system contracting the virus.

It can also be used by children to treat Herpes.

Aciclovir Drug Interactions

If you are taking any other medications, it is possible that these may affect the way Aciclovir works.

Please inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications. The most common medications that can interact with the effectiveness of Aciclovir are:

  • Medication used for gout such as probenecid
  • Stomach acid medicine such as Cimetidine, primarily used for Stomach Ulcers
  • Drugs prescribed to those following a transplant such as mycophenolate mofetil, ciclosporin and tacrolimus
  • The use of theophylline for the treatment of asthma. 

Please tell your pharmacist or Doctor if you are taking any other forms of medications, either prescription or over the counter medicines. This also includes any vitamins or supplements.

Who can take Aciclovir?

Aciclovir is a relatively safe drug to take and can be used by both adults and children. However in some cases, aciclovir may not be suitable if any of the below apply to you:

  • You are allergic to Aciclovir or any of its ingredients.
  • You suffer from kidney issues
  • You suffer from a nervous disorder
  • You have liver problems or disease, or abnormal levels of salts in your blood
  • You suffer from breathing difficulties
  • Are over 65 years of age
  • Are pregnant, trying to conceive or are currently breastfeeding.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you have forgotten to take one of your doses of Aciclovir you can take it as soon as you remember. However, if this means you will be taking it at a time that is close to your next scheduled dosage, do not take the missed pill. You must not double dose on this medicine. Just skip the dose and continue your course schedule as recommended. If you have any worries concerning a forgotten tablet, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

What if I take too much?

On occasion of being concerned that you may have taken too much Aciclovir you must contact your doctor or emergency services straight away. Take any remaining tablets with you to your consultation.

Aciclovir is unlikely to cause you any harm if you accidentally double dose; however as a precaution we recommend speaking to your doctor or pharmacist if you fear that you have taken too much aciclovir.

Side effects of Aciclovir

All medicines come with a risk of side effects. Below are the potential side effects associated with Aciclovir. If you experience any of the following and you are concerned, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice. Should your symptoms be more serious, seek emergency medical help.

Common Side Effects

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach discomfort or pains
  • Experiencing dizziness, tiredness or itching
  • Skin rash
  • A fever

Uncommon Side Effects

  • Skin rashes which can cause redness or itching
  • Hair loss
  • Difficulty or shortness of breath
  • Nose bleed, susceptibility to bruising more easily
  • Sore throat, high temperature or low temperature and chills, mouth ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Liver complications
  • Skin or eyes seeming yellowed
  • Kidney problems
  • Pain in lower back
  • Experiencing feelings of dizziness, agitation, shaking, hallucinations, or personality changes which may include troubles concentrating
  • Anaemia

In rare cases patients taking Aciclovir can suffer from a severe allergic reaction to the medicine. If you experience any of the warning symptoms you MUST contact emergency services such as 111 or 999 immediately. The signs of a severe allergic reaction are:

  • Developing a skin rash which is itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling
  • Your chest or throat feeling tight. This can also be displayed through wheezing.
  • Experiencing difficulty in breathing or talking
  • Your facial extremities become swollen i.e. you mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat. 

Aciclovir Pregnancy Warning

Aciclovir is considered to be safe to take during pregnancy. If you experience regular breakouts, the doctor may recommend taking Aciclovir during your pregnancy to prevent a possible breakout during birth as this can pass the virus to the new-born.

We recommend spreaking to your doctor who will be able to explain the risks and benefits of taking acyclovir during pregnancy.

Aciclovir during Breastfeeding

Aciclovir is safe to use during breastfeeding. If you are taking Aciclovir tablets, some of the medication may make its way into the breastmilk, however the amount is considered too small to present any harm to your baby.

It is important to speak to your doctor if you are currently breastfeeding and taking acyclovir, they will be able to advise you on the best course of action for you and your baby.

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