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 information.
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.
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.
Store below 25oC. 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 for advice.
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.