Finding effective treatments becomes an urgent task in a world where viral infections are becoming more common. Aciclovir is one of the most widespread and effective tools to combat unpleasant viral infections.
The drug was patented in 1974. Its effectiveness has been proven clinically and is vital in treating infections caused by a herpes virus.
The medication has become a revolutionary discovery since it explicitly affects the herpes virus by inhibiting its replication without impacting non-infected cells. It allowed the development of an effective drug for treating infections caused by herpes viruses.
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- Brand Names: Aciclovir, Zoviclovir;
- Active Ingredient: Aciclovir;
- Manufacturer: Accord, Aurobindo, GlaxoSmithKline, Healing Pharma.
Aciclovir and its drug substance
Aciclovir is a nucleoside analog that is integrated into the DNA of the herpes virus and inhibits its replication (self-reproduction of nucleic acids, genes, chromosomes, etc.). Aciclovir’s mechanism of action makes the medicine efficient in control of virus infections.
Aciclovir is active against various herpes viruses and some other viruses, including:
- The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) - mainly causes infections in or around the mouth and spreads by oral contact;
- The herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) - causes genital herpes and spreads by sexual contact;
- Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is transmitted through the air or from person to person.
Aciclovir tablets start working 1-2 hours after administration. An improvement is seen after 3 days of treatment; however, the course should be continued as prescribed. It takes 5 days or more until a full recovery, depending on the severity and type of an infection.
Indications for use
The goal of Aciclovir pharmacotherapy is a full treatment from viral infection and preventing the occurrence of complications. Its use depends on the character of the infection and a doctor’s recommendations. The most common cases for Aciclovir use include the following:
- Infections caused by a herpes simplex virus, including infection of the lips, genitals, and other mucous membranes;
- Preventing infection in people with weakened immune systems;
- Varicella or herpes zoster infections.
It is important to mention that Aciclovir is effective for the treatment of viral infections but is not a panacea. Any treatment should be carried out under the supervision of a physician, who will determine the type and severity of infection and recommend the best dosage and duration of administration, depending on each case.
Treatment regimens and dosages
Aciclovir dosage can vary depending on the type and severity of infection, a patient’s age, and other factors. However, common recommendations on dosages usually include the following:
1. Herpes simplex virus (herpes on the lips or genitals):
- Oral administration for adults - 1000 mg per day divided into 5 receptions at four-hour intervals;
- Oral administration for children - 500 - 1000 mg per day divided into 4 - 5 receptions at regular intervals.
2. Prevention of herpes in patients with reduced immunity:
- Oral administration for children and adults - 100 - 200 mg four times daily at approximately six-hour intervals.
3. Aciclovir shingles dose and varicella:
- Oral administration for adults - usually 800 mg every 4 hours, five times a day, during 7 - 10 days;
- Oral administration for children - 200 - 800 mg four times a day.
Recommendations for use
Take the drug as directed by your doctor or follow the instructions for use. General recommendations for use include the following information:
- Take the drug with or after the meal;
- Do not chew or break the tablet;
- Drink the tablet with a sufficient amount of water;
- Make sure a child swallowed the Aciclovir pill;
- It is essential to administer tablets at the same intervals.
To fight off viral infections effectively, one should take the tablets regularly and maintain a concentration of Aciclovir's active substance in the blood. Missing one or several doses may reduce the effectiveness of the therapy, increase the duration of treatment, and cause other severe consequences.
Try to stick to the dosing regimen during the treatment to get the maximum effect. Take a missed dose as soon as possible if there is much time left until the next dose. Otherwise, skip it and take the next scheduled dose at the prescribed time.
Like other antiviral agents, Aciclovir is unsuitable for people under certain conditions, and sometimes, you need to use the drug cautiously. One should consider the precautions listed below before and during Aciclovir use:
- Do not change dosing, and don't stop taking your pills without consulting a medical specialist;
- Inform your doctor about all medical problems, allergies, and other drugs you are taking before the start of treatment to prevent the risk of interaction and side effects;
- Older people, especially those who use high Aciclovir doses, should have sufficient fluid intake;
- Immediately contact your doctor if you experience new symptoms or deterioration in well-being. It may indicate ineffectiveness of the medication or other problems;
- A medical expert should decide whether to adjust dosing if you have a weakened immune system or kidney disease;
- To prevent the spread of infection, especially in the case of shingles, observe hygiene, avoid touching the affected areas, and do not share your personal items with other people.
Use of Aciclovir in pregnancy
The treatment may be recommended if the infection is severe and threatens the health of the child and mother. The sooner treatment begins in case of exacerbations of herpes or another infection, the better.
Use of Aciclovir may be considered during pregnancy if there is a serious medical necessity. In some cases, treatment may be preferable at a specific stage of pregnancy.
Possible Aciclovir side effects
Not only antiviral agents but any drug may cause adverse reactions. Some patients may experience side effects, but their intensity may vary from mild to severe. The most common Aciclovir adverse reactions include the following:
- Abdominal pain;
Remember that most Aciclovir side effects are mild and temporary. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you experience severe adverse reactions.
Aciclovir: interaction with other drugs
Drug interaction is an alteration of the effects of one drug or substance by the impact of another. Sometimes, drug interactions may be positive (when one medication increases the effect of the other) but most often negative (when one medicine reduces the effectiveness of another and increases the risk of side effects).
One should pay attention to Aciclovir interactions with the following drugs:
Drug interactions may vary depending on a person's characteristics, such as age, gender, genetic predisposition, and other diseases.
Alcohol mildly affects the work of Aciclovir. However, medical experts recommend avoiding alcohol in case of any infection so that your body can effectively deal with it and reduce the risk of side effects.
Store Aciclovir in a cool and dry place at room temperature. Do not keep the medication in the bathroom cabinet or near the sink. Do not put it in your car's glove compartment or leave it in the automobile. Keep it out of reach of children.
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When I was young, there was no such magic pill, and I just used ointments that only helped speed up the healing process. I'm glad things are so much simpler now that you can keep your health normal without worrying that the disease will catch up with you at the wrong time.
My daughter recently contracted chickenpox, and I did not get this disease as a child. So, I needed treatment, too. Zoviclovir helped quite quickly, and there were no side effects for me.
I have had herpes for 8 years now. And my outbreaks are usually caused by stress. I take the pill every day, and it helps me avoid the unpleasant symptoms. In general, the drug works well if you do not forget to take it every day.
I used to take another medication, which helped speed up bumps' healing process. But outbreaks happened with the same frequency. Then the doctor advised me to try Zoviclovir 400 mg; since then, I have forgotten about herpes. If I take the medication on time, the symptoms do not manifest.
I feel for you if you're facing the virus for the first time. Just know that it will be easier if you choose the right medication. My salvation was Zoviclovir 200 mg. For the second year, I have taken it for suppressive therapy, and my virus does not bother me.
Thanks to these pills, I can feel like a healthy person. When I take aciclovir, the most unpleasant sensation from herpes is itching. After 3 days, the virus recedes. After treatment, I sometimes have a slight upset of the stomach. But I can live with it.
It only took five days for my painful bumps to disappear completely. I took 1,000 mg. I think it's a very cool result. 10 out of 10.
My ex-husband gave me herpes. That's how I knew he was cheating, which was the reason for our divorce. Unfortunately, saying goodbye to herpes was much harder. Aciclovir pills help me keep the virus under control and avoid outbreaks. I've been on this drug for over five years, and I won't stop.
Such a pity, but the medication didn't suit me at all. These pills made me so tired even coffee couldn't save me. I had to find other treatments.
If you have herpes, I suggest keeping several Aciclovir packages in stock. I take the medication every time I feel the tingle of a new cold sore. If you take the pill in advance, you can avoid the unpleasant consequences of the virus.
My partner has herpes, and she's always been honest with me about it. But since we've been together, I've never seen this virus outbreak on her. She always has it under control. But about a week ago, after sex, I felt a strong burning in the genital area. I also had pains during urination. The doctor told me I had herpes and prescribed 1000 mg of Aciclovir per day. The relief came only yesterday; I am still in shock that now I have herpes. But for the cure, there is not a single claim. It's a good thing there are drugs that can deal with this virus quickly.
Four days ago, I was diagnosed with genital herpes. It was a very unpleasant surprise from my new boyfriend, who didn't tell me about his diagnosis. It started with burning during urination, and then painful bumps appeared. The doctor immediately realized what was happening and prescribed me Zoviclovir 800 mg daily. Yesterday, I felt a noticeable relief. And I thought it deserved a positive review.
For several years, I was overcome by constant fatigue, and I could not understand what is the reason for this condition. Finally, one of my doctors tested me for the Barr virus, and the result was positive. After that, my therapy included taking Zoviclovir 400 mg tablets for about nine months. At first, I was a little nauseous after taking the drug, but the side effects were gone after about two weeks. Now I feel much better, and I finally feel full of energy.
I first encountered the herpes simplex virus about 10 years ago. After therapy, I forgot about this disease for a long time. But recently, the virus reminded me of itself. The doctor prescribed 200 mg four times a day for suppressive therapy. After three days, the virus retreated. I am very pleased with the result! I keep taking pills. As for the side effects, I sometimes have dizziness. But compared to the effect of the cure, it's nothing.
For me, the disadvantages outweighed the virtues. The medication helped me fight a herpes outbreak. But the side effects were terrible. During the treatment, I felt so tired that I could not get out of bed, and I was very dizzy.
Zoviclovir 200 mg entirely prevents all outbreaks; I used to have them around six to eight times a year. Now that I'm using these pills, I'm outbreak-free with no side effects.
For about 3 years, I was tortured by sores on my lips during colds. I tried a lot of ointments and creams, but nothing really helped me. I've learned that it's not just an aesthetic problem and that I must take serious action. The doctor gave me aciclovir, and I never regretted taking those pills. Now, even when my immunity is weakening, my skin has no bumps. There were no side effects for me.
Ever since I was a teenager, I've suffered from cold sores on my lips. During university, these symptoms became much more painful due to constant stress. So, the doctor advised me to take Zoviclovir 400 mg of the drug during the outbreak. It worked 100%. I'm really glad I went to the doctor and found a solution.
I've suffered from herpes since I was a kid and tried a lot of drugs until I stopped at Aciclovir. If I take my pills early enough, this drug stops the virus in just a few days. In case I have already received a cold sore, the drug prevents the growth and appearance of new ones. I have no side effects.
5 days ago, I experienced my first herpes outbreak, and I don't wish it to anyone. I'm not going to give you any horrible details. Things were really bad, and my doctor prescribed me 1000 mg Aciclovir. After three days, I was relieved, and almost all my symptoms disappeared. The only side effect I felt was dizziness.
I get cold sores every time I'm stressed at work or have some kind of the flu. Lately, it started to happen too often – around 7 times a year and I asked my doctor what we could do about it. This way, I was prescribed Zoviclovir 200 mg a day as a suppressant. Since that time, I have never gotten a cold sore. What a blessing.
Aciclovir is my salvation for suppressing the virus. Thanks to a dose of 800 mg daily, I live a normal life, and in 2 years, I have not had a single outbreak.
Most recently, I had to learn about a disease called herpes. After five days of fever and a strange itch in my genital area, I remembered I had unprotected sex recently. At the doctor's appointment, my fears were confirmed. The medication helped me to get back on my feet and feel better. I'm still in the phase of accepting my new condition.
I have taken the medication for about five years to avoid virus outbreaks. It is much easier this way. As long as I follow my routine and take 1,000 milligrams daily, I forget I have herpes.