What is Aciclovir?
Aciclovir is an antiviral drug that is used to treat a number of viral infections including, chickenpox, shingles, cold sores and genital herpes. When Aciclovir is used to treat genital herpes, the active ingredient (also called aciclovir) suppresses the herpes simplex virus that causes the infection. Although genital herpes is incurable, outbreaks can be managed with Aciclovir. When the tablets are taken correctly, they can reduce the duration of each herpes outbreak and reduce its severity. The sooner you begin taking Aciclovir after noticing the symptoms of a herpes attack, the more effective the antiviral treatment will be.
What is the active ingredient of Aciclovir?
Aciclovir is named after its active ingredient (also called aciclovir). The medication is an antiviral drug that can effectively suppress the herpes simplex virus that causes genital herpes. Although there is no cure for the condition, individual outbreaks can be managed using Aciclovir. If treatment is begun quickly, the duration and severity of attacks can be reduced.
How does Aciclovir work?
Genital herpes is caused by a viral infection that is contracted during sexual activity. The herpes simplex virus has two forms, HSV - 1 (occasionally causing genital herpes but usually associated with cold sores or oral herpes) and HSV - 2 (usually responsible for causing genital herpes). Aciclovir suppresses the herpes simplex virus and limits its ability to create unpleasant symptoms like blisters, sores, pain, fever and malaise. Genital herpes is an incurable condition, once you are infected it may return at any time in your life. Timely use of Aciclovir allows you to manage each outbreak and reduce the discomfort that it causes.
Who can take Aciclovir?
Our online Doctors can consider prescribing Aciclovir to patients over the age of 18 with genital herpes. If you are allergic to the active ingredient aciclovir, you cannot use this medication. If any of the following medical conditions apply, it is important to be open about them when you fill in the quick online health questionnaire. Our duty GP will prescribe Aciclovir if it is safe for you to use.
- You have kidney problems.
- You are over 65 years old.
- You are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant.
If you will need to drive or operate machinery while you are taking Aciclovir, you should be aware that potential side effects may include drowsiness. It may also reduce your concentration and ability to react quickly.
What doses of Aciclovir are available?
Aciclovir is available as 400mg tablets for the treatment of genital herpes. Your online Doctor will devise a personal treatment plan based on your medical needs and will give you precise instructions about how to take your Aciclovir tablets. A typical treatment is to swallow one 400mg tablet three times a day (morning, lunchtime and evening), and to continue the routine for five days.
It is important to remember that there is no permanent cure for genital herpes. Aciclovir is used to manage individual outbreaks by suppressing the herpes simplex virus in your body. The goal of treatment is to reduce the duration of an outbreak and ease the severity of the symptoms. If you are prescribed Aciclovir, you must take the tablets exactly as instructed by your online Doctor. Exceeding the dosage will not reduce your symptoms or heal your genital herpes. Our duty GP may be able to advise you about using other medications alongside Aciclovir to reduce any discomfort from sores, cracked skin, pain on urination, and fever.
How to do I take Aciclovir?
Your online Doctor will check your health questionnaire to make sure that Aciclovir is safe for you to use. If your prescription is approved, you’ll be given exact instructions about when and how to take your tablets. These can vary according to individual health needs, but the standard treatment routine is:
- 1x 400mg tablet in the morning
- 1x 400mg tablet at lunchtime
- 1x 400mg tablet in the evening
This routine is usually repeated for five consecutive days.
Tablets may be swallowed whole with a glass of water or dissolved in a glass of water before swallowing. It is important to drink plenty of water and remain well hydrated for the duration of the treatment.
Can I take Aciclovir and drink alcohol?
Our online Doctors generally do not recommend drinking alcohol while using any prescription medicine. Although moderate drinking is unlikely to affect the efficacy of Aciclovir, it may exacerbate its potential side effects. Alcohol may also exacerbate the symptoms of herpes and reduce the function of your immune system as it fights the herpes simplex virus.
What are the side effects of Aciclovir?
Your Aciclovir tablets will come with a patient leaflet giving detailed information about the medication, its ingredients, possible side effects, and contraindications. Please read this leaflet carefully before you take any tablets. Keep the leaflet with the medication for future reference.
If you take Aciclovir tablets exactly as directed by our online Doctor you are unlikely to experience any significant unwelcome side effects. A small minority of patients may experience some minor side effects.
- Common side effects
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling or being sick
- Stomach pains
- Skin reaction after exposure to light (photosensitivity)
- Feeling tired
- Unexplained fever (high temperature) and feeling faint, especially when standing up.
Uncommon side effects
- Itchy, hive-like rash
- Hair loss.
Rare side effects
- Effects on some blood and urine tests
- Increases in the enzymes that work in the liver
If you experience serious discomfort we recommend that you go straight to your nearest casualty department. In an emergency dial 999.
When shouldn’t I take Aciclovir?
You cannot take Aciclovir if you are allergic to the active ingredient (also called aciclovir). If you have any of the medical conditions shown below you may be unable to take Aciclovir, or may be prescribed a reduced dosage or have to take special precautions. If any of the following applies to you, please let us know when you fill in the short online health questionnaire.
- You have kidney problems
- You are over 65
- Your immune system is weak
- You are (or think that you might be) pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Our duty GP will check your health profile and will not write a prescription for Aciclovir if there is any risk to your health. If your prescription is issued, your Aciclovir tablets will be sent for next day delivery.
The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from the PDF-version from this website because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged or the medicine is from another brand.