Aciclovir is a very successful medicine produced and marketed by Actavis pharmaceutical company. It is used in the treatment of both strains of herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2) and is available in multiple forms, including tablet and a cream. Aciclovir (sometimes also called Acyclovir) is a generic version of a better-known branded antiviral medicine Zovirax. As is the requirement for generic medicine, Aciclovir is identical to Zovirax in terms of efficiency, active ingredient, intended use and possible side effects.
This antiviral medicine will significantly speed up the recovery process, sending the viral infection back into remission if recurrent outbreaks manifest. Aside this use, Aciclovir can also be used as a preventive treatment during the earliest stages of reactivation, before blisters and sores had time to fully manifest. If used at this point, it can significantly reduce the intensity of recurrent outbreaks.
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Herpes: A general background
Herpes is a common term denoting two different strains of the herpes simplex virus – herpes simplex-1 and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2). The former, HSV-1 is the root cause behind cold sores, while the latter is associated with genital herpes.
The symptoms of this condition are easily recognizable, while the persistance of the condition is very well known. Even though the viral infection tends to decrease in severity as the time goes by, once this condition is contracted, it is impossible to completely cure it and eliminate herpes from the organism. As such, herpes is a lifelong condition marked by successive periods of activity and remission.
Whether it is an initial occurrence or a reactivation, medical experts will usually prescribe antiviral treatments that can limit an outbreak rather successfully, bringing the infection under control.
Herpes is one of the most contagious sexually transmitted infections, with the condition still being able to be transmitted during period of remission, although the chances are significantly lower as opposed to situations when there is a flare-up of symptoms in progress. Herpes is undoubtedly most dangerous when blisters and sores have burst and in the days immediately afterwards. In this period, it is best to completely avoid sexual activities until the affected area has fully healed. This way, you will significantly limit the chances of transmitting the infection.
Herpes (HSV-2) treatment options
As mentioned, herpes is, similarly to other viral STIs, a lifelong condition that cannot be completely cured. Thus, all currently available herpes treatments aim to speed up the recovery process, limit the symptoms and send the virus into remission. In addition to this, more effective treatments might also work at preventing the reactivations before they can fully develop.
Aciclovir as herpes treatment
Aciclovir is a very effective herpes medicine as it acts very rapidly, providing quick relief from the symptoms during the active phase of the outbreak and halting the development of new blisters and sores. It achieves this by inhibiting a crucial function of the virus – its participation in the synthesis of a vital self-sustaining enzyme (DNA polymerase) which the infected cells need to produce and release in order to replicate and thus spread the virus throughout the body. Aciclovir will make this impossible, effectively stopping the virus from spreading and making it easier for the immune system to send the infection into remission.
If you are buying Aciclovir for the first time, you will need not only a prescription, but also a confirmation from a GUM or STI clinic that you have been tested positive. However, for recurrent outbreaks, only a prescription will be needed, which means that you can easily renew your prescription through an online clinic and buy Aciclovir online.
The active ingredient of Aciclovir
The active ingredient of Aciclovir is a pharmaceutical compound of the same name. It belongs to a category of medicines called guanosine analog antivirals. As such, it is one of the most successful antiviral medicines known to modern science. Developed in the second half of the 20th century, it is now considered to be an essential medicine that every hospital or pharmacy needs to have.
Aciclovir works by stopping the cells infected with a virus from spreading and multiplying during a herpes reactivation. This process is physically manifested in the form of blisters and sores appearing on the area where the transmission took place.
How to use Aciclovir?
In order to ensure the optimal efficiency of the treatment and minimize the potential for side effects, you should precisely follow the instructions provided to you by your doctor. Any additional questions can be sorted out either with a call to your GP or by consulting official patient information leaflet that is issued with every pack of Aciclovir.
The general guidelines and facts that you should keep in mind include:
- Take tablets as advised by your doctor, as a whole, with a glass of water
- The usual dose for the treatment of recurrent outbreak is 200mg, 5 times per day, over the course of three to fie days
- Doses should be at least 4 hours apart
- Begin using the treatment as soon as the earliest signs of an infection manifest
- Keep the affected area dry and clean
- If you miss a dose, continue with the treatment as usual and do not increase the next dose to compensate
- Never exceed the prescribed amount
- If lesions have not cleared after 5 days, talk to your doctor about the possibility of continued treatment
What are the side effects of Aciclovir?
As with every medicine, Aciclovir isn’t completely safe for everyone who might use it. It does come with an array of possible side effects, although these are experienced by only a fraction of those using this medicine. The reported side effects can be classified in different groups based on their frequency of occurrence as follows:
Frequency of occurrence
Common (1 in 10 patients)
Dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, stomach pain, vomiting, rash, tiredness, sensitivity to sunlight, fever
Uncommon (1 in 100 patients)
Severe skin rash, hair loss
Rare (1 in 1000 patients)
Drowsiness, shortness of breath, confusion, insomnia, agitation, involuntary shaking, loss of coordination
There are also some situations when the doctor might advise you against using this medicine. This can occur if you are using some other medicine that might interact with Aciclovir – the list of potentially problematic medicines varies depending on whether you are using Aciclovir standard tablets, dispersible tablets or Aciclovir cream.
On the other hand, certain medical conditions can also contraindicate the use of Aciclovir. For example:
- Allergy to acyclovir or some of its components
- Recent bone marrow transplant
- Liver problems
- Kidney problems
- Any condition that might affect the function of the immune system
In addition to this, use of Aciclovir isn’t always recommended for women who are pregnant or are currently breastfeeding. If this is the case, consult with your doctor prior to beginning the treatment.
Finally, Aciclovir standard tablets contain lactose, so they should not be used by lactose-intolerant people.