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Side Effects, Dosage, Uses, and More

Highlights for acyclovir

  • Acyclovir oral tablet is available as both a generic and a brand-name drug. Brand name: Zovirax.
  • Acyclovir is also available as a capsule, suspension, and buccal tablet you take by mouth. It also comes in a cream and ointment you apply to your skin. In addition, acyclovir is available as an intravenous (IV) drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider.
  • Acyclovir is used to treat viral infections. These include varicella-zoster (shingles), genital herpes, and chickenpox.
    • Kidney failure: This drug may cause your kidneys to stop working. Tell your doctor if you have any kidney problems before taking this medication.
    • Low red blood cells and platelets: This drug may cause thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). These conditions cause dangerously low levels of red blood cells and platelets in your body. This may be fatal (cause death). Symptoms can include fatigue and low energy.
    • Sexual contact: You shouldn’t have sexual contact with your partner when you have signs of a genital herpes outbreak. This drug does not cure herpes infections. It may help lower the chance of spreading herpes to your partner. However, even with safe sex practices, it’s still possible to spread genital herpes. Talk to your doctor for information about safe sex practices.

    Acyclovir oral tablet is a prescription drug that’s available as the brand-name drug Zovirax. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.

    Acyclovir also comes as an oral capsule, oral suspension, buccal tablet, topical cream, and topical ointment. In addition, acyclovir is available as an intravenous drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider.

    This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

    Why it’s used

    Acyclovir is used to treat viral infections. These include varicella-zoster (shingles), genital herpes, and chickenpox.

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    This drug doesn’t cure herpes infections. The herpes virus can stay in your body for a long time and cause symptoms again later.

    How it works

    Acyclovir belongs to a class of drugs called antivirals. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

    Acyclovir works by lowering the ability of the herpes virus to multiply in your body. This treats the symptoms of your infection. However, this drug doesn’t cure herpes infections. Herpes infections include cold sores, chickenpox, shingles, or genital herpes. Even with this drug, the herpes virus may still live in your body. Your symptoms may occur again later even after the symptoms of your current infection go away.

    Acyclovir oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness but it can cause other side effects.

    More common side effects

    Some of the more common side effects of acyclovir oral tablet include:

    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • headache
    • weakness

    Serious side effects

    Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

    • Unusual changes in your mood or behavior. Symptoms can include:
      • aggressive behavior
      • unsteady or shaky movements
      • confusion
      • trouble speaking
      • hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that isn’t there)
      • seizures
      • coma (being unconscious for a long time)
    • Decrease in your red blood cells and platelets. Symptoms can include:
    • Liver problems
    • Muscle pain
    • Skin reactions. Symptoms can include:
      • hair loss
      • rash
      • breaking or loosening of skin
      • hives
      • Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This is a rare, allergic skin reaction.
    • Changes in your vision
    • Kidney failure. Symptoms can include:
      • kidney or flank pain (pain in your side and back)
      • blood in your urine
    • Allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
      • trouble breathing
      • swelling of your throat or tongue
      • rash
      • hives
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    Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

    An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.

    To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

    Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

    This drug comes with several warnings.

    Allergy warning

    Acyclovir can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

    • trouble breathing
    • swelling of your throat or tongue
    • rash
    • hives

    Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms. Don’t…

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