Acyclovir
   

Acyclovir
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Foreign Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(ay SYE kloe veer)

Brand Names
Zovirax®

Foreign Brand Names
Acifur (Mexico); Avirax® (Canada)

Therapeutic Categories
Antiviral Agent

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to acyclovir, valacyclovir, or any other part of the medicine.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used for the treatment and prevention of herpes infections.
  • If treating herpes zoster, acyclovir should be started as soon as possible; no later than 3 days after rash appears.


How does it work?

  • Acyclovir prevents this virus from functioning normally. Virus reproduction is stopped.


How is it best taken?

  • Oral:
    • Take with or without food. Take with food if this medicine causes an upset stomach.
    • Take with a full glass of water.
    • Drink 8 tall glasses of liquid everyday unless told to drink less liquid by healthcare provider.
    • A liquid (suspension) is available if you cannot swallow pills. Those who have feeding tubes can also use the liquid. Flush the feeding tube before and after medicine is given. Shake well first.
    • If you are treating a repeat infection start medicine as soon as possible.
    • Use entire prescription as directed, even if feeling better.
  • Skin:
    • Do not take by mouth. For skin only. Keep out of mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
    • Wash hands before and after use.
    • Clean affected area before use.
    • Use a small amount over the area affected as a light film. Rub in gently.
    • Use a rubber glove to apply ointment. This prevents spread of infection.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not take a double dose or extra doses.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • You may not be alert. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Oral:
    • Headache. Mild pain medicine may help.
    • Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
    • Diarrhea.
  • Skin:
    • Burning and itching.


What should I monitor?

  • If you are taking this medicine for repeat infections, watch for signs of another infection. Start medicine as soon as possible after a sign of infection.
  • Follow up with healthcare provider.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Severe burning and itching.
  • Any rash.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store in a tight container at room temperature.
  • Protect tablets or capsules from moisture.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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