Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional. Brands and generics both contain the same active ingredient(s) and are medically equivalent. Some brands are marketed under different names by the same manufacturing country depending on the country of origin.
Acivir (aciclovir) is an antiviral treatment used to suppress viral infections, causing outbreak symptoms to be less frequent, less severe, and shorter in duration. Note that while Acivir can be very beneficial in managing symptoms, it is not a cure and will not prevent spread of viruses to others.
This product is not effective against all types of viruses, but it is effective against herpes viruses and a few others. Ideally an unidentified infection will be identified by a doctor prior to starting treatment of any kind; antivirals like Acivir will do nothing against bacterial or fungal infections, for instance, and other types of viruses---which Acivir may not be particularly effective against---can sometimes produce very similar symptoms.
Conditions Acivir is commonly used to treat include:
Acivir comes in both tablets and as a cream. The cream is typically preferred for treating cold sores on the lips or face; it should not be applied to mucous membranes, including the inside of the mouth. For other conditions tablets are preferred.
Patients who utilize Acivir for a viral infection find outbreaks to be much less severe; symptoms, such as sores, tingling, burning, and so forth, are quickly soothed and healed. Depending on how the medication is taken, outbreaks may be much less frequent.
Acivir is proven effective and widely considered very safe, with severe adverse effects being very rare.
Dosage & Administration
How Acivir is taken can vary widely between individuals, depending on the virus being treated as well as other personal factors, such as age, weight, other medications being taken, and so forth. The active ingredient in Acivir is absorbed poorly into the bloodstream, so it may be taken up to 5 times per day.
The medication---whether tablets or cream---is best used at the earliest symptoms an outbreak is starting, such as the tingling or itching of a developing sore. It will still provide benefit if taken at later stages, but if at all possible start treatment when the first symptoms are noticed.
Duration of treatment is also highly variable, ranging from a few days at a time to months. In general, if treating a recurrent outbreak, treatment lasts several days; if trying to prevent recurrent outbreaks treatment will last months at a stretch, usually at a lower dose. There are exceptions, however, and patients are encouraged to consult a doctor or research using aciclovir for a given viral infection.
Patients are also encouraged to be sure to remain hydrated throughout treatment; this will maximize beneficial effects and help prevent side effects.
Potential Side Effects
As mentioned above, Acivir is a remarkably safe medication. Side effects are rare and the majority of them are mild, including:
The above are not cause for concern unless they become severe or persist past the first few days of treatment.
Patients with preexisting kidney issues should be aware that Acivir may cause further kidney damage. Such patients are advised to speak with a doctor prior to taking Acivir, and be alert for symptoms of kidney problems.
Though rare, Acivir may cause a low white blood cell count in some individuals.
There are no known negative effects on unborn or breastfeeding babies when the mother is taking Acivir; however, mothers may want to discuss potential risks with a doctor or avoid using the medication if pregnant or nursing.
Acivir may interact with some other medications, including over-the-counter varieties. In the interest of safe and effective treatment, always double-check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking other treatments along with Acivir.