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Aciclovir cream

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About Product
Mohamed Imran Lakhi
This content has been written and checked for quality and accuracy by
Mohamed Imran Lakhi Content Administrator Updated on: 22/11/2021 Next review: 22/05/2022

What is Aciclovir Cream?

Aciclovir cream is a topical cream, used to treat cold sores, which contains an antiviral called aciclovir (acyclovir).

It is the generic alternative to Zovirax cream, which is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

With Prescription Doctor, you can safely buy aciclovir cream online following an online consultation. To begin your order, simply fill out our online medical questionnaire for one of our doctors to review.

If your order is approved before 3pm on a weekday, our UK regulated pharmacy will dispense your medicine and dispatch aciclovir cream to your door via a discreet, next-day delivery.


What are cold sores? 

Cold sores appear as small fluid filled blisters on the lips or surrounding areas of the face.

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). The herpes virus is contagious, and is often spread through kissing or oral sex. It is estimated that more than 2 thirds of adults in the UK carry herpes.

If you are unsure whether you have herpes, you can get an STI test. A simple urine test can determine whether you have HSV-1 or HSV-2.

When the herpes virus infects the body, it targets the nerve cells and tissues around the face, which causes the outbreak of cold sores.

Although the immune system attacks the virus initially, the body doesn't completely get rid of the virus.

Herpes virus can lay dormant in nerve cells and tissue for months or years and resurface, occasionally causing recurrent outbreaks when the body is exposed to triggers. Some common triggers for recurrent outbreaks are stress, menstruation or sunlight exposure.

There is currently no cure to permanently remove the herpes virus from the body and prevent cold sore outbreaks, but there are antiviral medicines that can treat symptoms and speed up healing during an outbreak.

Treatment should be started immediately to improve symptoms like itching, painful and unsightly cold sores.


How does Aciclovir Cream work?

The antiviral agent aciclovir, prevents the herpes virus from multiplying in the tissues and nerve cells of the body.

Infected cells convert aciclovir to aciclovir triphosphate which inhibits an enzyme the virus uses to make copies of itself.

This allows the immune system to fight the virus into remission.

While aciclovir cream helps to improve the recovery time of a flare up, it doesn't prevent the spread of herpes.

How long does Aciclovir cream take to work?

Aciclovir cream usually takes between 3 and 4 days to start working.

If you do not notice an improvement after using Aciclovir for 5 days, speak to your doctor.


How do I use Aciclovir Cream?

It is advisable to start using aciclovir cream as soon as the infection begins.

Wash your hands before and after using aciclovir cream.

Aciclovir cream should be applied on the affected skin and surrounding areas only.

Do not apply aciclovir cream in the mouth, nose or eyes.

If you or someone else accidentally swallows aciclovir cream, seek immediate medical attention by going straight to your nearest accident and emergency department.

The affected area should be clean and dry before applying the medicine.

Apply aciclovir cream 5 times a day, leaving 4 hours between doses, for 5 days.

If there are no improvements after 5 days, the medicine can be used for a further 5 days. If there is no improvement in your symptoms after 10 days of using aciclovir cream, stop using the cream and speak to your doctor.

What should I do if I accidentally use more aciclovir than I should?

If you accidentally use more aciclovir cream than you should, or accidentally swallow the cream, seek immediate medical attention by going straight to the nearest accident and emergency department. Remember to take the packaging and any remaining medicine with you so the doctors know exactly what you took.

What should I do if I forget to use aciclovir cream when I should?

If you miss your dose of aciclovir cream, apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. Continue to apply the remaining doses for the day, giving at least 4-hour intervals between doses. Do not apply more aciclovir cream to make up for the missed dose.


Side effects and cautions

Before you begin using aciclovir cream, you must read the patient information leaflet that comes with your cold sore cream.

You can view the patient information leaflet for Aciclovir Cream online.

If you have any concerns or questions about any of the information found in the patient information leaflet, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

You can message one of our online doctors if you wish to discuss your condition or the treatment further.

Who should not use Aciclovir Cream

Aciclovir cream is not suitable for everyone. If you are unsure whether aciclovir cream is safe for you, speak to your doctor.

Do not use aciclovir cream if you:

  • have ocular herpes
  • have genital herpes
  • are immunocompromised

Aciclovir cream should only be used to treat cold sores on the face.

If you have ulcers inside your mouth, genital herpes, or herpes which appears in or around your eyes, speak to your doctor for advice.

Side effects of aciclovir cream

All medicines carry the risk of side effects, though not everybody experiences them.

Uncommon side effects of aciclovir cream include:

  • Irritation of the skin (burning, itching, stinging)
  • Mild drying or flaking of the skin

These side effects usually go away on their own.

This is not a full list of side effects associated with aciclovir cream. A complete list of side effects can be found within the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.

If you experience any side effects when using aciclovir cream, regardless of whether they are listed above or in the patient information leaflet, speak to your doctor.

Allergies

Do not use aciclovir cream if you are allergic to any of the ingredients, which you can find in the patient information leaflet enclosed with your medicine.

If you experience the signs of an allergic reaction, stop using Aciclovir cream and seek medical attention immediately. In cases of severe reactions, go straight to your nearest accident and emergency department. Remember to take the packaging and any remaining medicine with you, so that doctors treating you know exactly what you took.

Signs of an allergic reaction may include a rash, itching, weal, swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat and eyes, difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Tell your doctor or pharmacist before using aciclovir if you are pregnant, planning to be pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Other safety information

Always read the enclosed patient information leaflet before you start using aciclovir cream.

Tell our online prescribers if you are taking any other medicines or using other topical treatments. You should include medicines prescribed by your doctor, and treatments bought over the counter, as well as any health or herbal supplements.

Never use aciclovir cream past the expiry date printed on the packaging.

Do not throw away aciclovir cream via household or water waste, as this can damage the environment. Take any unwanted or expired medication to your local pharmacy and ask them to dispose it safely on your behalf.

Do not store aciclovir cream above 25°C, and do not store it in the fridge.

Always store aciclovir cream out of the sight and reach of children.


Frequently Asked Questions

Will aciclovir cream affect my ability to drive or operate machinery?

Alciclovir cream should not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.

Can I drink alcohol while using aciclovir cream?

Yes, you can drink alcohol while using aciclovir cream. Avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week.

Can I have sex while using aciclovir cream?

You should avoid kissing and oral sex if you or your partner has cold sores.

In the case of genital herpes, you and your partner should avoid sex until the blisters have completely healed.


Sources

Treatment information

  • Product Name: Aciclovir cream
  • Active Ingredient(s): Aciclovir
  • Administration: Topical
  • Presentation: Cream
  • Available Strength: 5% w/w
  • Exemption: Prescription only
  • Dosage: Apply a thin layer to the skin up to 5 times a day for 5 days
  • Description: Aciclovir cream is a topical treatment for cold sores
  • Drug Class: Antiviral
  • Alcohol Consumption: No influence
  • When Pregnant: Tell our doctor if you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or plan on becoming pregnant before using Aciclovir cream
  • When Breastfeeding: Tell our doctor if you are breastfeeding before using Aciclovir cream
  • Related Drug: Zovirax
Click here to view the Aciclovir cream - Patient Information Leaflet

Cold sores Alternatives

Zovirax (Aciclovir)

Zovirax (Aciclovir)
  • Helps cold sores heal faster
  • Prevents the spread of the virus
  • Available from our UK registered pharmacy
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