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Aciclovir

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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: 24/02/2022 Next review: 24/08/2022

What is Aciclovir?

Aciclovir, also spelt Acyclovir is an antiviral medicine. 

It treats infections caused by the herpes virus, including;

  • Cold sores around the mouth
  • Genital herpes

In people with frequent outbreaks, Aciclovir is used to reduce future episodes. 

Aciclovir works by inhibiting a protein in the body that the virus uses to replicate itself and cause further infection.

By limiting the virus's ability to multiply, the immune system can fight the infection more effectively, treating the symptoms faster.

Even if you treat genital herpes with Aciclovir, you may still experience future outbreaks which will require further treatment.

Click here to know more about Aciclovir.


Where can I buy treatment for herpes?

When you have an outbreak of herpes, you need treatment as soon as possible. With Prescription Doctor, you can get your medicine delivered as quickly as the next day if your order is approved by one of our doctors before 3 pm, Monday to Friday.

Our online doctor will assess your suitability and, if appropriate, issue a prescription for our UK based pharmacy to fulfil.

We take your privacy seriously at Prescription Doctor, which is why our pharmacy will package your item in discreet packaging, which gives no indication of its contents.


What is herpes?

Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection estimated to affect one in ten people in the UK.

There are two variations of the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2; HSV-2 is mainly associated with genital herpes.

  • HSV-1 most often causes infections of the mouth and lips, called cold sores or "blisters." You may get fewer outbreaks. It can spread to the genital area during oral sex and cause genital herpes. If HSV-1 spreads to the genital area, it is still HSV-1.
  • HSV-2 is the most common cause of genital herpes. It is spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. HSV-2 can spread to the mouth during oral sex. If HSV-2 spreads to the mouth or lips during oral sex, it is still HSV-2.

Once you are infected with herpes, the virus lies dormant in their body and may cause episodic outbreaks of symptoms from time to time. However, these outbreaks may not be predictable and may happen months or years apart from one another.

During acute infection, unpleasant symptoms may appear. After this initial outbreak, future outbreaks tend to produce less severe symptoms.

For recurrent herpes infections, treatments such as Aciclovir can be used to suppress the virus and beat it into remission, improving symptoms and preventing the virus from spreading.

Based on figures from 2018, it is estimated that more than two-thirds of adults under the age of 50 carry the herpes simplex virus. Some people may not know they have herpes as they may not show symptoms and are unlikely to visit their doctor to get diagnosed.

To know more about genital herpes, please visit NHS Herpes Guide. 


How can I prevent genital herpes?

You can protect yourself from genital herpes by practising safe sex. This means:

  • Always wearing a condom.
  • Get tested for herpes. 
  • Refraining from sex if your partner has blisters or sores or any indication that than outbreak is coming on.
  • Avoid sharing sex toys.

While condoms offer adequate protection against most STIs, they may not be as effective at preventing genital herpes unless they cover the affected area.

Once you have been infected with a herpes virus, the virus may lay dormant in your body. You may not notice any symptoms for weeks, months or sometimes even years.

However, you may experience recurrent outbreaks, where your symptoms worsen for a short while.

These outbreaks can be triggered by:

  • Friction around the genitals (from tight clothing or sex)
  • Having a period
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Illness
  • Surgery around the genital area
  • Ultraviolet light exposure

If you are unsure what steps are most appropriate for you to take to prevent an outbreak of genital herpes, speak to your doctor for advice.


What are the symptoms of genital herpes?

Symptoms of genital herpes are:

  • Blisters around genitals, anus, thighs or buttocks
  • Itching or burning sensation around your genitals
  • Pain when urinating
  • Vaginal discharge in women

If you are experiencing these symptoms for the first time, it's important that you speak to your doctor in person. They will be able to advise the most suitable treatment for you based upon your medical history.

If you are experiencing a recurrent infection, you can order Aciclovir for genital herpes online from Prescription Doctor following a short online consultation. One of our online doctors can ensure Aciclovir is safe for you and issue a prescription for our UK based pharmacy to fulfil.

Visit WebMD for pictures and facts about STDs.


Aciclovir is not suitable for some people

Aciclovir can be taken by most adults. 

To make sure Aciclovir is safe for you, tell our online prescriber if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction to Aciclovir or any other medicine in the past
  • have kidney problems
  • are over 65 years old
  • are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding

If your immune system is weakened (for example, if you have HIV or AIDS, or you have had a bone marrow transplant), talk to our online doctor about the best type of Aciclovir for you. 

Aciclovir is also available in a cream. 


Aciclovir side effects and cautions

All medicines carry the risk of side effects. It is important to read the patient information leaflet, which is enclosed in the packaging of your medication before you begin taking any medication.

If you are concerned about any of the side effects associated with the treatment you are prescribed, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Some side effects of Aciclovir include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Vertigo
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Above is not an exhaustive list of side effects. Further information regarding the safety of Aciclovir can be found within the patient information leaflet enclosed with your medicine.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant in the near future or are breastfeeding, speak to your doctor before taking Aciclovir for genital herpes.


Frequently asked questions

What should I do if I forget to take Aciclovir when I should?

If you forget to take Aciclovir when you should, take it as soon as you remember.

If it is almost time for your next dose of Aciclovir, skip the missed dose and continue to take Aciclovir as prescribed by your doctor.

Do not take more Aciclovir to make up for the dose you missed.

Will Aciclovir affect my ability to drive or operate machinery?

Aciclovir may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. It is important to see how Aciclovir affects you before you attempt to drive or operate machinery.

If you notice any side effects of Aciclovir that may impact your concentration, such as drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue or visual disturbances, avoid driving or operating machinery until you feel it is safe to do so.

Can I drink alcohol while taking Aciclovir for genital herpes?

Alcohol is unlikely to interact with Aciclovir. Avoid drinking more than the recommended weekly 14 units of alcohol while taking Aciclovir.

Will Aciclovir affect my contraception?

Aciclovir should not interfere with the combined contraceptive pill or emergency contraception.

If you experience vomiting or diarrhoea after taking Aciclovir, the effectiveness of your contraceptive pill may be reduced. If this occurs, speak to your GP about what next to do regarding your contraceptive pill.

How long does Aciclovir take to work?

For genital herpes, Aciclovir usually takes 5 to 10 days to clear up an outbreak.

For the prevention of genital herpes, you may need to take Aciclovir for longer.

What should I do if my partner has genital herpes?

If your partner has an outbreak of herpes, you should avoid sexual contact until the infection has cleared.

If you suspect you may have caught herpes from your partner, seek advice from your GP or a sexual health clinic.

What should I do if Aciclovir does not work for my genital herpes?

If you notice little or no improvement after your course of Aciclovir, speak to your doctor. They may be able to increase your dose or prescribe something else which might be more effective for you.

Can genital herpes be cured?

While there is no cure for genital herpes, there are treatments available such as Aciclovir, which help to reduce the symptoms by suppressing the virus. The virus will still remain dormant in the body.

 

References

NHS, 2020. Genital herpes.

NHS, 2019. Aciclovir

Aurobindo Pharma Ltd., 2020. Aciclovir 400mg Tablets: Summary of Product Characteristics

Treatment information

  • Product Name: Aciclovir
  • Manufacturer: Accord
  • Active Ingredient(s): Aciclovir
  • Administration: Oral
  • Presentation: Tablets
  • Available Strength: 400 mg
  • Exemption: Prescription Only Medicine
  • Application: Men and women over 18 with herpes
  • Dosage: Take 1 tablet 3 times daily for 5 days
  • Description: Antiviral medication to treat herpes
  • Drug Class: Antiviral
  • Alcohol Consumption: Avoid or limit alcohol consumption
  • When Pregnant: Tell your prescriber if you are pregnant or intend on becoming pregnant
  • When Breastfeeding: Tell your prescriber if you are breastfeeding
Click here to view the Aciclovir - Patient Information Leaflet

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