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Terms Of Use

ACICLOVIR

Brand Name(s) : Zovirax, Alti-Acyclovir, Avirax, Zovirax Wellstat Pac, Zovirax Zostab Pac, Virovir
Warnings
Uses
Side Effects
Precautions
Interactions
Overdose

ACICLOVIR WARNINGS

Aciclovir should be used with caution in:

It should not be used in:

  • People who are hypersensitive to aciclovir, any of the ingredients in the medicine or to valaciclovir,.

Also see list of precautions and interactions

STORAGE

Store below 25°C.

ACICLOVIR USES

What is it used for?

  • Aciclovir is used to treat herpes infections.
  • It is one of the most commonly-used antiviral drugs (medicines that treat infections caused by viruses).
  • In general this drug is used to treat infections caused by herpes virus.
  • Benefits of being on this drug can include: relieving the pain and discomfort of sores and to help any sores to heal faster.

Listed below are the typical uses of aciclovir:

  • Treating the symptoms of chickenpox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster) and herpes encephalitis infections
  • Treating and preventing herpes simplex virus infections of the genitals (sex organs), skin, and mucous membranes (lips and mouth)
  • Preventing recurrent herpes simplex infections.

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list.

HOW TO USE/TAKE

How often do I take it?

  • This medication is available as tablets, dispersible tablets, oral suspension, cream, liquid for intravenous injection, or as an eye ointment.
  • The tablets should be taken several times per day, with a glass of water, with or without food.
  • The cream should be applied several times per day, at approximately four-hourly intervals, to sores or areas likely to develop sores.
  • Other formulations may need to be taken more or less frequently, as indicated by your doctor or pharmacist
  • Use this medication for the duration of the prescription in order to get the most benefit from it.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told otherwise by your doctor.
  • It may take up to 4 or 5 days (depending on which form of medication is used) before the full benefit of this drug takes effect, but in severe infections this period may be longer.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • There have been occasional reports of brain disorders, such as confusion, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) and sleepiness. If affected in these ways avoid driving or operating machinery.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • Always complete the full course as prescribed by your doctor.

ACICLOVIR SIDE EFFECTS

Aciclovir eye ointment:

  • Irritation
  • Swollen, runny eyes
  • Stining sensation in the eye straight after using the ointment

Other aciclovir formulations:

If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling weak, dizzy or short of breath (this could be due to anaemia, which is a lack of red blood cells)
  • Liver problems (hepatitis) or yellowing or the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Feeling dizzy, confused or sleepy or seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations), fits or loss of consciousness.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.

ACICLOVIR PRECAUTIONS

Before taking aciclovir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: an allergy (hypersensitive) to aciclovir or valaciclovir.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: any kidney problems, any nervous disorder, at risk of dehydration.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Whilst there is no specific guidance regarding drinking alcohol and taking aciclovir, there have been occasional reports of some side effects, such as confusion, hallucinations and somnolence (drowsiness), which may be enhanced by alcohol. Thus, is may be sensible to avoid or moderate alcohol intake whilst taking this drug.

The elderly: aciclovir should be used with caution in the elderly as they are likely to have a reduced kidney function compared to younger patients. The dose may need to be lowered to compensate for this and they will need to drink plenty of water.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below

PREGNANCY

The safety of aciclovir has not been established during pregnancy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts or questions about this.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.

BREAST FEEDING

Aciclovir is suitable to take if you are breastfeeding. However, it has been shown to pass into breast milk and therefore caution is advised.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.

ACICLOVIR INTERACTIONS

Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.

This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious, possibly fatal interactions may occur: none known

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and non-prescription/herbal products you may use, especially of:

  • Probenecid, used for treating gout
  • Cimetidine, used to heal stomach ulcers
  • Mycophenolate mofetil, used after transplant operations
  • Tacrolimus, an immunosuppressant drug
  • Ciclosporin, an immunosuppressant drug
  • Theophylline, used in asthma and other breathing problems

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using aciclovir, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use.

ACICLOVIR OVERDOSE

An overdose of aciclovir may cause: nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, headache and confusion.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of aciclovir or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.

MISSED DOSE

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited or TicTac Communications Ltd. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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