Brand Name: Acyclovir
Most Common Medical Uses
Acyclovir is an antiviral most commonly used to treat shingles, chickenpox, or genital herpes. It slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus so that the body can fight off the infection and lessens the symptoms of these infections and shortens the length of time you are sick. It may also be used to treat other conditions.
How to Take This Medication
Take as directed by your doctor. Acyclovir can be taken with or without food. Taking acyclovir with food may decrease stomach upset. Do not miss any doses. Take all of the Acyclovir that has been prescribed for you even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may start to improve before the infection is completely treated.
Possible Side Effects
Possible side effects of taking Acyclovir include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or headache. Stop taking acyclovir and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives); little or no urine production; or unusual bleeding or bruising. Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
Do not take Acyclovir without first talking to your doctor if you are allergic to valacyclovir (Valtrex). Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease. If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they become worse, check with your doctor. If you are using this medicine for genital herpes, begin using it as soon as you notice symptoms (pain, burning, blisters) of an infection. Use a condom during sexual intercourse. If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy. Acyclovir passes into breast milk and may affect a nursing infant. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Probenecid (Benemid) may increase the effects of Acyclovir and lead to dangerous side effects. Talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take the dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose.
Store this medicine at room temperature in a tightly-closed container, away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.
Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people, even during treatment. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Wash your hands frequently to prevent transmission. Do not share Acyclovir with others for whom it was not prescribed, since they may have a problem that is not effectively treated by this drug.
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