information about the treatment of herpes, chickenpox, or shingles is also available with
this medicine. Read it carefully before using this medicine. Take this medicine with food or milk if it
upsets your stomach. To clean up your infection completely, continue taking this medicine
for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days. Do not miss any
Acyclovir is an antiviral used to treat shingles, chickenpox, or genital herpes. It may
also be used for other virus infections as determined by your doctor. However, it does not
work in treating certain virus infections, such as the common cold.
How To Take This Medication:
Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor.
Acyclovir is best used as soon as possible after the
symptoms of herpes infection or shingles begin to appear.
If you are taking acyclovir for the treatment of
chickenpox , it is best to start taking acyclovir as soon as possible after the first sign
of the chickenpox rash, usually within one day.
Acyclovir capsules, tablets, and oral suspension may
be taken with meals or on an empty stomach.
Acyclovir is best taken with a full glass (8 ounces)
To help clear up your herpes infection, chickenpox,
or shingles, keep taking acyclovir for the full time of treatment, even if your symptoms
begin to clear up after a few days. Do not miss any doses. However, do not use this
medicine more often or for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
Side effects, that may go away during treatment, include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or
headache. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. If you notice other
effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they become worse, check with your
doctor. If you are using this medicine for genital herpes, begin using it as soon as you
notice symptoms (pain, burning, blisters) of an infection. It is important to remember
that acyclovir will not keep you from spreading herpes to others. Therefore, it is
best to avoid any sexual activity if either you or your sexual partner has any symptoms of
herpes. The use of a latex condom ("rubber") may help prevent the spread of
herpes. However, spermicidal (sperm-killing) jelly or a diaphragm will probably not help.
If you plan on becoming pregnant,
discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy.
If you are or may be pregnant, check with your doctor for instructions on using this
medicine during pregnancy. Before you begin taking any new medicine, either prescription
or over-the-counter, check with your doctor or pharmacist. This medicine is excreted in
breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeing while you are using this medicine, check
with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in many cases two
different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these
cases, changes in dose or other precautions may be necessary. If you are taking acyclovir
it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any
of the following:
- Carmustine (e.g., BiCNU) or
- Cisplatin (e.g., Platinol) or
- Combination pain medicine containing acetaminophen and
aspirin (e.g., Excedrin) or other salicylates or
- Cyclosporine (e.g., Sandimmune) or
- Deferoxamine (e.g., Desferal) (with long-term use) or
- Gold salts (medicine for arthritis) or
- Inflammation or pain medicine, except narcotics, or
- Lithium (e.g., Lithane) or
- Methotrexate (Mexate) or
- Other medicine for infection or
- Penicillamine (e.g., Cuprimine) or
- Plicamycin (e.g., Mithracin) or
- Streptozocin (e.g., Zanosar) or
- Tiopronin (Thiola) Concurrent use of these medicines
with acyclovir may increase the chance for side effects, especially when kidney disease is
If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room
If you do miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is
almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing
schedule. Do not double doses.
- Keep out of the reach of children.
- Store away from heat and direct light.
- Do not store the capsule or tablet form of this
medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture
may cause the medicine to break down.
- Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer
needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.