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Acyclovir Drug Information

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Acyclovir is used to decrease pain and speed the healing of sores or blisters in people who have varicella (chickenpox), herpes zoster (shingles; a rash that can occur in people who have had chickenpox in the past), and first-time or repeat outbreaks of genital herpes (a herpes virus infection that causes sores to form around the genitals and rectum from time to time). Acyclovir is also sometimes used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes in people who are infected with the virus. Acyclovir is in a class of antiviral medications called synthetic nucleoside analogues. It works by stopping the spread of the herpes virus in the body. Acyclovir will not cure genital herpes and may not stop the spread of genital herpes to other people.
What is the most important information I should know about acyclovir ?
• 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.
• Treatment with acyclovir should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (e.g. tingling, burning, blisters).
• 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.What is acyclovir?
• Acyclovir is an antiviral drug. It slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus so that the body can fight off the infection. Acyclovir lessens the symptoms of these infections and shortens the length of time you are sick.
• Acyclovir is used to treat infections caused by herpes viruses. Illnesses caused by herpes viruses include genital herpes , cold sores, shingles, and chicken pox .
• Acyclovir may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking acyclovir?
• 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 . You may need a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.
• Acyclovir is in the FDA pregnancy category B. This means that acyclovir is not likely to harm an unborn baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.
• 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.
How should I take acyclovir?
• Take acyclovir exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
• Treatment with acyclovir should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (e.g. tingling, burning, blisters).
• Take each dose with a full glass of water.
• Acyclovir can be taken with or without food. Taking acyclovir with food may decrease stomach upset.
• Shake the suspension well before measuring a dose. To ensure that you get a correct dose, measure the suspension with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.
• 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.
• Lesions caused by herpes viruses should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Wearing loose clothing may help to prevent irritation of the lesions.
• Store acyclovir at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
• Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one as directed. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
What happens if I overdose?
• Seek emergency medical attention.
• Symptoms of an acyclovir overdose include seizures, hallucinations, and kidney damage (decreased urine production).
What should I avoid while taking acyclovir?
• 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.
• Acyclovir will not prevent the spread of genital herpes. Avoid sexual intercourse or use a latex condom to prevent spreading the virus to others.
What are the possible side effects of acyclovir?

• 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.
• Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take acyclovir and talk to your doctor if you experience
· nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, or abdominal pain;
· a headache or lightheadedness; or
· joint pain.
• 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.
What other drugs will affect acyclovir?
• Probenecid (Benemid) may increase the effects of acyclovir and lead to dangerous side effects. You may need a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking probenecid.
• Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with acyclovir. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.


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