Acyclovir is a drug that helps people who suffer from herpes. It is an antiviral medication, one that belongs to a group of such medicines known as “synthetic nucleoside analogues.” This drug does not get rid of herpes exactly, but it does allow a person who has this ailment to be able to fight off infections much more effectively. Among the afflictions this medication is adept at getting rid of are cold sores, shingles and even chicken pox, all maladies that people with herpes often have to deal with.
When your doctor prescribes you Acyclovir, it’s imperative that you finish the prescription. That is, don’t stop taking the drug before the prescription runs out, even if you feel a lot better and your herpes-related illnesses have disappeared. Also note that just because you are on this medication doesn’t necessarily mean you can no longer give herpes to anyone else; your herpes will remain contagious.
When is it time to see your doctor about Acyclovir? The answer is as soon as you start to notice any new symptoms, symptoms that could be related to an infection brought on by herpes. Such symptoms would include burning and tingling sensations throughout your body, as well as blisters. When you go to see your doctor, be sure to tell him or her if you suffer from kidney disease or if you’re allergic to any kinds of medications. Kidney disease and medicinal allergies won’t mean you’re ineligible to take Acyclovir. More likely, you will just have to be more closely monitored during the period when you’re taking this medicine. Also, make sure you inform you doctor if you are currently breastfeeding an infant.
There are a few different ways Acyclovir can be administered: you might take it in tablet form, as a capsule, or maybe even as a suspension liquid, perfect for people who dislike swallowing pills. (If you do take this drug in liquidized form, be sure to shake it up well before each dosage to make sure the medication is distributed evenly throughout the container.) Your doctor may require you to take this drug anywhere from twice a day to five times a day, with food or without food, for a period of, on average, five to ten days. Also, you need to take this medicine each day around the same times. Make sure you don’t take it any more or less often than your prescription directs you to; if for some reason you don’t quite understand your prescription, be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain the directions carefully.
At some point during the period during which you are on Acyclovir, you should notice the symptoms of your herpes infections easing and hopefully disappearing altogether. If your symptoms actually get worse, however, make sure you call your doctor again and go back to see him or her as soon as you can. You should also see your doctor if you start experiencing one or more of the following serious side effects of this drug: hives, seizures, trouble breathing, insomnia, newfound aggression, fever, unaccountable bleeding or bruising, rash, rapid heartbeat, cramps, numbness, blackouts, difficult urination, or blood in your urine or diarrhea. (These are not common side effects, however.) Side effects you may experience, but won’t have to see a doctor about unless you feel they are severe, would include nausea, occasional diarrhea, fatigue, brief dizziness, and achy joints.
Note that Acyclovir, on some rare occasions, is given to certain patients in order to prevent a herpes outbreak within a community. In these cases, a person may actually take this medicine for up to a full year.