Acyclovir is used to treat herpes infections of the skin,
lip, and genitals; herpes zoster (shingles); and chickenpox.
It does not cure herpes infections but decreases pain
and itching and promotes healing. Topical Acyclovir does
not prevent the recurrence of sores but may decrease
pain and itching if applied when the earliest symptoms
first appear. Oral Acyclovir decreases the frequency and
severity of recurrent sores, but it is used only by
people with severe herpes infections because of possible
adverse effects. This medication is sometimes prescribed
for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more
Treatment with Acyclovir topical should be started as
soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms
(e.g. tingling, burning, blisters). Wash your hands
before and after applying Acyclovir topical. Wear a glove
or a finger cot or use an applicator (e.g. cotton swab)
when applying Acyclovir topical to avoid spreading the
virus to other body parts and to other people. Apply
enough ointment to cover the lesion(s) completely. A
one-half inch ribbon of ointment should cover approximately
4 square inches of surface area. Avoid getting this
medication in the eyes. Acyclovir topical is usually applied
every 3 hours, six times a day for seven days. Follow
your doctor's instructions. Use Acyclovir topical for
the full amount of time prescribed, even if you begin
to feel better. Your symptoms may start to improve before
the infection is completely treated. Lesions caused
by herpes viruses should be kept as clean and dry as
possible. Wearing loose clothing may help to prevent
irritation of the lesions.
Warnings / Precautions
Before using Acyclovir topical, tell your doctor if you
have any other medical conditions or if you use any
other medications. Acyclovir topical is in the FDA pregnancy
category C, which means that it is not known whether
it will harm an unborn baby. Do not use Acyclovir topical
without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether Acyclovir topical passes into
breast milk. Do not use Acyclovir topical without first
talking to your doctor if you are breast feeding a baby.
Apply it as soon as you remember and apply further
doses at your regular interval (e.g., every 3 hours)
until you go to bed. However, if it is almost time for
the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your
regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to
make up for a missed one.
Possible Side Effects
No serious side effects are expected during treatment
with Acyclovir topical. If you suspect an allergic reaction
(difficulty breathing; rash; hives; itching; swelling
of your lips, tongue, or face) seek emergency medical
attention. Other less serious side effects may be more
likely to occur. Continue to use Acyclovir topical and
talk to your doctor if you experience itching, stinging,
burning, or a rash. These side effects should resolve
quickly. Side effects other than those listed here may
also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect
that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
- Stop taking acyclovir and seek emergency medical
attention or contact your doctor immediately if you
experience any of the following serious side effects:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing;
closing of your throat; swelling of your lips,
tongue, or face; or hives);
- little or no urine production; or
- unusual bleeding or bruising.
- Other, less serious side effects may be more likely
to occur. Continue to take acyclovir and talk to your
doctor if you experience
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite,
or abdominal pain;
- a headache or lightheadedness; or
- joint pain.
- Side effects other than those listed here may also
occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that
seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
Store below 25 degrees C. Do not refrigerate.
An overdose of this medication is not likely to occur.
If you suspect an overdose or ingestion of Acyclovir
topical, call an emergency room or poison control left
Acyclovir Cream is contra-indicated in patients known
to be hypersensitive to acyclovir or propylene glycol.
Acyclovir is most effective if it is started within
48 hours of when the rash first appears. Follow the
directions for using Acyclovir provided by your doctor.
This drug information is for your information purposes
only, it is not intended that this information covers
all uses, directions, drug interactions, precautions,
or adverse effects of your medication. This is only
general information, and should not be relied on for
any purpose. It should not be construed as containing
specific instructions for any particular patient. We
disclaim all responsibility for the accuracy and reliability
of this information, and/or any consequences arising
from the use of this information, including damage or
adverse consequences to persons or property, however
such damages or consequences arise. No warranty, either
expressed or implied, is made in regards to this information.