Aciclovir Tablets (400mg)

  • Used to treat and prevent recurring outbreaks of Herpes
  • Works by stopping the herpes virus from spreading
  • Helps clear the signs and symptoms of herpes and cold sores

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Aciclovir 400mg Tablets

Genital herpes affects up to 23% of adults in the UK. Flare ups can often be painful and embarrassing. Whilst there is no cure for Herpes, fortunately antiviral medication such as Aciclovir 400mg tablets can be purchased online from Medicine Direct which can help to reduce the painful and embarrassing symptoms of herpes as soon as they start to appear.

What is Aciclovir?

Aciclovir is an antiviral medication used in the treatment of a variety of conditions. It is a common cold sore treatment and is also used to treat genital herpes and other viruses.

Depending on how you prefer to administer your medicine and what your ailment is, Aciclovir is available as a cream or tablet.

The cream version of this medication can be bought to treat cold sores at most supermarkets and registered pharmacies. However, you must have a prescription to buy Aciclovir tablets.

It is sometimes administered by an injection, but this is only done when you are in a hospital.

What is Aciclovir used to treat?

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.

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.

Aciclovir will help to relieve the irritation, blisters and scabs caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

Doctors may also prescribe Aciclovir to treat shingles and chicken pox as they are also caused by the herpes virus, varicella zoster. 

How does Aciclovir work?

These tablets work by stopping the herpes virus from spreading by targetting the enzyme in the virus that helps HSV to grow. Doing this means the immune system is able to fight the virus.

If you start taking Aciclovir as soon as your symptoms appear, it will often work to clear them up within one or two days.

No medicine can remove this virus from your system, but antiviral medication like Aciclovir can help to treat individual cases of the likes of cold sores and genital herpes.

Aciclovir or Valaciclovir, what is the difference?

Valaciclovir is a treatment that is commonly used to treat the herpes simplex virus and genital herpes. Valtrex is the branded version of Valaciclovir and is also available from Medicine Direct. It is very similar to Aciclovir, but there are some differences between the two which are summarised below:

  Valaciclovir Aciclovir
Drug Type Antiviral Antiviral
Treats

Herpes simplex

Genital herpes

Cold sores

Shingles

Herpes simplex

Genital herpes

Cold sores

Shingles

Frequency 1 Tablet to be taken twice daily 1 Tablet to be taken 5 times daily
Available Doses 500mg 400mg
Active Ingredients Valaciclovir Aciclovir
Available forms Oral Tablet

Oral capsule

Oral Tablet

Oral suspension

Aciclovir Cream

Prices Prices start from £44.99 Prices start from £18.99

Aciclovir dose

The average dose for adults when treating genital herpes is to take one tablet five times a day.

To prevent herpes from coming back, your doctor will likely prescribe you two tablets a day for between three and six months.

See the patient information leaflet for full details on doses, including the recommended doses for children. Children should not take this medicine to treat shingles.

If you suffer from kidney problems or are elderly, your doctor may lower your dose. Always take Aciclovir in the dose your doctor has prescribed.

How to take Aciclovir

These tablets can be taken with or without food.

Swallow Aciclovir tablets whole with plenty of water, unless told otherwise by your doctor.

Make sure you drink plenty of water during your time taking this medicine.

You should wash your hands regularly while suffering from a HSV outbreak. Additionally, because this type of infection is contagious, take care to ensure that the infected areas of your body do not come into contact with others. You are advised to not have sex while being treated for genital herpes. If you do have sex, you should always use contraception.

Aciclovir common side effects

As is the case with all medicines, Aciclovir comes with the risk of certain side effects, although not everyone will suffer from them.

Here are some of the most common side effects associated with taking Aciclovir tablets:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skin being sensitive to sunlight
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling tired
  • Itching (skin reaction)
  • High temperature and feeling faint, particularly when you stand up
  • Rash

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. For a list of rarer, more serious adverse reactions, please refer to the Side Effects tab on this product's page.

Who can take Aciclovir?

Aciclovir is considered a safe drug to take and can be used by both adults and children. However, it is not suitable for everyone. You should speak to your doctor about whether this medicine is right for you if you have any of the following:

  • 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, liver disease or abnormal levels of salts in your blood
  • You suffer from breathing difficulties
  • You are over 65 years of age
  • You are pregnant, trying to conceive or are currently breastfeeding
  • You have a weakened immune system

If you have a weakened immune system from conditions like HIV, AIDS or a bone marrow transplant, you should speak to your doctor about which type of Aciclovir treatment is the most suitable for you.

Can you buy Aciclovir over the counter?

Aciclovir tablets cannot be bought over the counter. You must have a prescription. However, if you are suffering from cold sores, the cream version is available from most pharmacies and supermarkets.

Can you buy Aciclovir online in the UK?

You can buy Aciclovir online from regulated pharmacies like Medicine Direct, but you will first need to have an online consultation. All you need to do is fill out a confidential questionnaire, where you will answer some questions about your medical history and your condition. These will be assessed by one of our doctors, pharmacists or prescribers to make sure Aciclovir is the right medication for you.

As long as you order by 2pm, we can offer you next day delivery.

Medicine Direct is fully regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and other official medical authorities. This means we can guarantee genuine and approved medicine to all who order with us. For your own safety, never buy medicine online unless it is from a regulated UK pharmacy.

Aciclovir alternatives

Valaciclovir is another medicine that can effectively battle against the herpes virus. This antiviral quickly converts to aciclovir when it has been ingested and will get to work in the same way.

Generic valaciclovir and the branded version, Valtrex, can both be ordered from Medicine Direct after an online consultation.

Aciclovir is also available as a cream, both on prescription and over the counter.

Aciclovir Indiations and Dose

Our pharmacists and prescribers follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Acciclovir.

Always read your prescription and the patient information leaflet, which will come with your medicine, before you start to take it.

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?

If you accidentally take too much Aciclovir, you must contact your doctor or the 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.

What are aciclovir tablets used for?


Aciclovir is an antiviral medicine that is used to treat cold sores caused by Herpes Simplex Virus

Is Aciclovir an antibiotic?


No, this medicine is an antiviral, which means it is used to treat viral infections. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections.

How long does Aciclovir take to work?


It will normally take a few days before your condition starts to improve. It is important to keep taking Aciclovir for as long as your doctor has told you.

What should I do if I don’t get better?


If you have taken Aciclovir tablets in accordance with your doctor’s instructions and do not feel better at the end of the course, tell your doctor. Your dose may be increased.

Is it okay to have sex while taking Aciclovir?


If you are taking this medicine to treat genital herpes, you should not have sex until all of the physical symptoms have cleared. The herpes virus is very contagious, so you should always wear a condom to have sex, even once the sores and blisters have healed. You should also avoid kissing and oral sex if you are suffering from a cold sore on your mouth.

Can this medicine affect my contraception?


Aciclovir has no effect on any type of contraception, including the morning after pill. If you are sick or have severe diarrhoea for longer than one day while taking Aciclovir, you may not have complete contraceptive protection. Read the information that comes with your contraception for guidance on what to do if this happens.

Are Aciclovir and Acyclovir the same thing?


Yes, these two medicines are the same and are both used for the same conditions.

Do I need to take Aciclovir with food?


You can take this medicine with or without food. Taking it with food may reduce the risk of a stomach upset. You should always take Aciclovir tablets with a drink of water.

Does Aciclovir damage your liver?


Liver problems (hepatitis) have been reported as very rare side effects while taking Aciclovir. If you have any liver problems already, you should tell your doctor before you start taking this medicine.

Can I prevent cold sores or herpes infections?


Herpes can be triggered by certain factors, so you should try to avoid them. The following tactics can help to reduce the risk of outbreaks: Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, reducing stress and avoiding strong sunlight and sunbeds.

Does acyclovir get rid of cold sores quicker?


Yes, aciclovir will typically speed up the healing process and reduce the appearance of cold sores quicker than if they were left to clear up naturally.

Side Effects of Aciclovir

The common side effects of Aciclovir can be found on the main product page.

The below side effects are very rare, affecting less than 1 in every 1,000 people who use Aciclovir tablets. Nonetheless, you should go back to your doctor if you notice any of the below symptoms while using the treatment:

  • You are having fits
  • You have a reduced number of red blood cells (anaemia)
  • You have a reduced number of white blood cells (leukopenia)
  • You feel weak
  • You have paralysis in parts or all over your body
  • You feel agitated or confused
  • You have hallucinations
  • You have a reduced number of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia)
  • You are shaking or have tremors
  • You fall unconscious
  • You have jaundice (yellowing skin or whites of the eyes)
  • You have kidney problems, urinating less frequently
  • You have lower back pain or pain above your hip
  • You have hepatitis (inflamed liver)
  • You have a lack of coordination or are unsteady on your feet

In rare cases, it is also possible to suffer a severe allergic reaction to Aciclovir tablets.

If you experience any of these symptoms while using the treatment, you should either got to A&E or call 999 immediately. You might require immediate treatment in hospital:

  • You have a skin rash that is red, itchy, swollen, blistering or peeling
  • You are wheezing
  • You are finding it difficult to talk or speak
  • You have swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, throat or lips
  • You have tightness in the throat or chest

Always read the patient information leaflet before taking any prescription tablets.

Aciclovir Warnings and drug interactions

As with all prescription treatments, Aciclovir may interact with other medicines. This may also make you more vulnerable to side effects.

It is very important that you inform your doctor and pharmacist of any other medication you are already using before you start to take a new one. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medicine, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

In particular, you should make sure your doctor is aware if you are currently taking:

  • A medicine to treat stomach ulcers called cimetidine
  • Medicines to treat asthma called aminophylline or theophylline
  • A medicine to treat gout called probenecid
  • A prescription medicine given after organ transplants called mycophenolate mofetil

There are various herbal medicines used to treat the likes of cold sores and genital herpes. You must inform your doctor if you are currently using any of these, before you start to use Aciclovir.

Because some of the common side effects associated with Aciclovir include feeling dizzy, stomach pain, having hallucinations or feeling tired, it is not advised that you drive or operate any machinery if you experience these effects. If you experience any of these side effects, you should not drive, ride a bike or operate machinery until you feel better. If these symptoms persist, go back and speak to your doctor.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Aciclovir is considered to be safe to take during pregnancy. If you experience regular breakouts, the doctor may recommend your taking Aciclovir during your pregnancy to prevent a possible breakout during childbirth, as this can pass the virus down to the newborn baby.

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

Aciclovir is safe to use while breastfeeding. If you are taking Aciclovir tablets, some of the medication may make its way into the breast milk, but 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 tablets, they will be able to advise you on the best course of action for you and your baby.

You can find additional information on the BUMPS website.

Aciclovir Ingredients

The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Aciclovir

For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics

Delivery Company Delivery Service Price Details
Royal Mail UK Delivery Standard UK Tracked £2.99 3 - 4 Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Delivery - Tracked £5.95 Order by 2pm (subject to Dr approval) Next Working Day Delivery
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Next Day Tracked Morning Delivery by 12:00pm £12.95 Next Working Day Morning Delivery by 12:00pm
DPD UK Next Day Delivery Tracked Saturday Delivery £9.95

Delivery specified for Saturday

Order Friday by 2pm (subject to Dr approval)

Please note that next day delivery to Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands & Islands and British Isles cannot be guaranteed. Please contact our team for more information.

Medically Reviewed bySonia Khan MPharm: 2076091

Updated on: 26/08/2021

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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