Acyclovir oral tablet is a prescription drug that’s available as the brand-name drug Zovirax. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.
Acyclovir also comes as an oral capsule, oral suspension, buccal tablet, topical cream, and topical ointment. In addition, acyclovir is available as an intravenous drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider.
This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.
Take acyclovir for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated.
Treatment with acyclovir should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters).
Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people, even while you are being treated with acyclovir. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent passing the infection to others.
Why it’s used
Acyclovir is used to treat viral infections. These include varicella-zoster (shingles), genital herpes, and chickenpox.
This drug doesn’t cure herpes infections. The herpes virus can stay in your body for a long time and cause symptoms again later.
How it works
Acyclovir belongs to a class of drugs called antivirals. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
Acyclovir works by lowering the ability of the herpes virus to multiply in your body. This treats the symptoms of your infection. However, this drug doesn’t cure herpes infections. Herpes infections include cold sores, chickenpox, shingles, or genital herpes. Even with this drug, the herpes virus may still live in your body. Your symptoms may occur again later even after the symptoms of your current infection go away.
Acyclovir oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness but it can cause other side effects.
More common side effects
Some of the more common side effects of acyclovir oral tablet include:
Serious side effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call +233267000104 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Unusual changes in your mood or behavior. Symptoms can include:
- aggressive behavior
- unsteady or shaky movements
- trouble speaking
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that isn’t there)
- coma (being unconscious for a long time)
- Decrease in your red blood cells and platelets. Symptoms can include:
- Liver problems
- Muscle pain
- Skin reactions. Symptoms can include:
- hair loss
- breaking or loosening of skin
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This is a rare, allergic skin reaction.
- Changes in your vision
- Kidney failure. Symptoms can include:
- kidney or flank pain (pain in your side and back)
- blood in your urine
- Allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
- trouble breathing
- swelling of your throat or tongue
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.
To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
This drug comes with several warnings.
Acyclovir can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
- trouble breathing
- swelling of your throat or tongue
Call 112 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms. Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).
Warnings for certain groups
For people with kidney problems: If you have kidney problems or a history of kidney disease, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body well. This may increase the levels of this drug in your body and cause more side effects.
This medication may also decrease your kidney function. This means your kidney disease may get worse. Your doctor will adjust your dose depending on how well your kidneys are working.
For pregnant women: Acyclovir is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:
- Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown a risk to the fetus.
- There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus.
Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.
For women who are breastfeeding: Acyclovir may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.
For seniors: The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.
For children: This drug hasn’t been studied in children younger than 2 years.
Acyclovir oral tablet is used for short-term treatment of genital herpes, shingles, and chicken pox. It’s used for long-term treatment of recurring genital herpes. This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.
If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: The symptoms of your infection may not get better or may get worse.
If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. If you’re taking this drug to prevent flare-ups of your infection, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times. You shouldn’t stop taking this drug without talking to your doctor first.
What to do if you miss a dose: Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.
If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body and experience more severe side effects. If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
How to tell if the drug is working: The symptoms of your infection will get better.
Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes acyclovir oral tablet for you.
- Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor.
- You can take acyclovir with or without food. Taking it with food may help reduce upset stomach.
- Do not cut or crush this medication.
- Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.
- Store this drug at room temperature. Keep it between 59°F and 77°F (15°C and 25°C).
- Keep it away from light.
- Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.
A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.
When traveling with your medication:
- Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
- Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
- You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
- Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.
You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:
- Kidney function. Your doctor may do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may lower your dose of this drug.
- Mental health and behavioral problems. You and your doctor should watch for any unusual changes in your behavior and mood. This drug can cause new mental health and behavior problems. It can also worsen problems you already have.
You should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This drug can harm your kidneys if you don’t stay well hydrated.
Acyclovir can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This increases your risk of sunburn. Avoid the sun if you can. If you can’t, be sure to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen.
Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.