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Acyclovir is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lip, and genitals; herpes zoster (shingles); and chickenpox. It does not cure herpes infections but decreases pain and itching and promotes healing. Sometimes acyclovir is given to help prevent the infection from coming back. Acyclovir also treats shingles and chickenpox infections. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Acyclovir tablets or capsules should be taken by mouth, following the directions on the prescription label. Swallow whole with a full glass of water. Take your doses at regular intervals, with or without food, not more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your prescriber or health care professional even if you think your condition is better. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice. Special care may be needed for use of this medicine in children, contact your pediatrician or health professional.
Patients with renal impairment need dosage adjustments. Caution should also be exercised to patients receiving potentially nephrotoxic agents (this may increase the risk of renal dysfunction and/or the risk of reversible central nervous system symptoms such as those that have been reported in patients treated with intravenous acyclovir). Patients should consult with their physician if any adverse reactions occurs, also if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant, they intend to breastfeed while taking orally administered Acyclovir, or they have any other questions.
Herpes Zoster: There are no data on treatment initiated more than 72 hours after onset of the zoster rash. Patients should be advised to initiate treatment as soon as possible after a diagnosis of herpes zoster.
Genital Herpes Infections: Acyclovir is not a cure for genital herpes.
Chickenpox: Chickenpox in otherwise healthy children is usually a self-limited disease of mild to moderate severity. Adolescents and adults tend to have more severe disease. Treatment was initiated within 24 hours of the typical chickenpox rash in the controlled studies, and there is no information regarding the effects of treatment begun later in the disease course.
In case you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects depend upon the dose you are taking and the infection being treated.
These side effects you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible: confusion or hallucinations, increased thirst,redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth, reduced amount of urine passed, seizures, skin rash or hives, stomach pain, tremor, unusual weakness or tiredness.
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome): diarrhea, dizziness, headache, increased sensitivity to the sun, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting.
Store at room temperature between 15° and 25°C (59° and 77°F). Protect from light and moisture. Keep out of the reach of children. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
Agitation, coma, seizures, and lethargy may occur in association with overdosage. Overdosage has been reported following bolus injections or inappropriately high doses and in patients whose fluid and electrolyte balance were not properly monitored. This has resulted in elevated BUN and serum creatinine and subsequent renal failure. In the event of acute renal failure and anuria, the patient may benefit from hemodialysis until renal function is restored.
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines. Follow the directions for using Acyclovir provided by your doctor.
This drug information is for your information purposes only, it is not intended that this information covers all uses, directions, drug interactions, precautions, or adverse effects of your medication. This is only general information, and should not be relied on for any purpose. It should not be construed as containing specific instructions for any particular patient. We disclaim all responsibility for the accuracy and reliability of this information, and/or any consequences arising from the use of this information, including damage or adverse consequences to persons or property, however such damages or consequences arise. No warranty, either expressed or implied, is made in regards to this information.