Aciclovir is a synthetic compound used to treat certain types of viral infections. It does not cure viral infections but instead treats symptoms; lessening the severity and duration, and in some cases preventing recurrent episodes altogether.
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Who Uses Aciclovir?
Aciclovir is most frequently prescribed for treatment of:
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) infections
Epstein Barr Virus
Genital Herpes episodes
In cream form Aciclovir may also be used to treat cold sores on the lips or face.
How Does it Work?
Aciclovir interacts with an enzyme found in certain types of viruses, which interferes with the ability of the virus to replicate and thrive. In other words, Aciclovir helps suppress the virus so the immune system can better combat the outbreak.
Some viral infections, such as genital herpes, are incurable. Aciclovir will lessen the severity and duration of outbreaks but will not cure the infection.
How is it Taken?
Aciclovir is available as a capsule, tablet, liquid form, and cream.
Aciclovir is not absorbed into the bloodstream very well, so it may need to be taken as often as 5 times a day. Frequency and dosage strength will vary widely between patients and depends on the condition being treated. Physician instructions should be followed carefully for best results.
Patients treating recurrent episodes typically have the medication on hand and begin taking it as soon as symptoms are noticed. Treatment may continue for several days or weeks depending the condition being treated and severity of the outbreak.
For other viral infections this medication may be taken for weeks or months at a stretch regardless of symptoms.
It is important to stay hydrated while taking Aciclovir to maximize effectiveness and mitigate potential side effects.
Active ingredient: aciclovir
Inactive ingredients, capsules: sodium lauryl sulfate, lactose, corn starch, magnesium stearate, titanium dioxide, gelatin, FD&C Blue No. 2
Inactive ingredients, tablets: povidone, magnesium stearate, sodium starch glycolate, microcrystalline cellulose, FD&C Blue No. 2
Patients with known hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients in Aciclovir should not take this product. Aciclovir get capsules may contain lactose.
Aciclovir is a remarkably safe medication. Side effects are uncommon and usually very mild:
Nausea or vomiting
There is a risk in patients with kidney disease that use of Aciclovir may cause further kidney damage.
In rare cases Aciclovir may lower white blood cell counts in some patients.
There are no known adverse effects on nursing or unborn babies associated with Aciclovir use; however, as with any medication, a physician should be consulted and the product should be used only if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Contraindications and Interactions:
Patients with a history of kidney disease or impairment should use this medication with caution and be alert to any symptoms of kidney trouble.
Aciclovir is known to interact with certain other medications. It is important that the prescribing physician is made aware of all medications, including non-prescription, being taken, as well as any other medical conditions.
Patients should read the information provided with the medication for a complete list of possible adverse effects and interactions prior to taking this or any other medication.
As mentioned above, Aciclovir is the most widely prescribed antiviral medication in the world. Through decades of widespread use it has proven to be a safe and effective treatment for alleviating the symptoms of viral infections.
While not all viral infections can be cured, with Aciclovir outbreaks can be confidently and effectively managed.