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Acyclovir - Indications, Dosage, Side Effects and Precautions

Written & Compiled by Anushta Chandrapalan, M.Sc  | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on Sep 26, 2013
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Information about Acyclovir

Generic Name : Acyclovir
Pronunciation : (ay sye' kloe ver)
Latest prescription information about Acyclovir. Learn how to pronounce the drug's name, its indications, dosage, how to take, when to take, when not to take, side effects, special precautions, warnings and its storage instructions . Also listed are the International and Indian trade name(s) of the drug and its price list.
ICD Code : Y41.5 | Therapeutic Classification : Antivirals

Trade Names/Brand Names of Acyclovir


Why is Acyclovir Prescribed? (Indications)

Aciclovir or acyclovir is an antiviral agent used to treat cold sores around the mouth caused by the herpes simplex virus, chickenpox, and shingles. It is also used to treat or prevent genital herpes mainly the repeat outbreaks of the disease.

It is also used to treat oral hairy leukoplakia a condition that causes hairy white or gray-colored patches on the tongue or inside of the cheek.  

When should Acyclovir not be taken? (Contraindications)


What is the dosage of Acyclovir?

Acute Treatment of Herpes Zoster: 800 mg every 4 hours orally, 5 times daily for 7 to 10 days.
Genital Herpes: Treatment of Initial Genital Herpes: 200 mg every 4 hours, 5 times daily for 10 days.
Chronic Suppressive Therapy for Recurrent Disease: 400 mg 2 times daily for up to 12 months, followed by re-evaluation.
Treatment of Chickenpox: Children (2 years of age and older): 20 mg/kg per dose orally 4 times daily (80 mg/kg/day) for 5 days.
Adults and Children over 40 kg: 800 mg 4 times daily for 5 days.

How should Acyclovir be taken?

It comes as a tablet, suspension to take by mouth, with or without food. It comes as cream, ointment to apply over the affected area. It also comes as a solution for injection to be administered by a healthcare provider into the vein.

What are the warnings and precautions for Acyclovir?

• It may cause sunburn easily, avoid exposure to sunlight or wear proper clothes.

Caution should be exercised in patients with history of kidney disease, any allergy, during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

It may lead to dehydration, drink adequate water or liquid.

It may cause dizziness, drowsiness or lightheadedness, do not drive a car or operate machinery while taking this medication.

After applying this medication wash your hands thoroughly to prevent passage of infection to others.

Avoid sexual intercourse or use condom to prevent the spread of virus.

What are the side effects of Acyclovir?

   General : Severe allergic reactions, fever, headache, pain, difficulty sleeping, angioedema and swelling in your hands or feet.
   Central Nervous System : Aggressive behavior, agitation, unsteadiness, coma, confusion, decreased consciousness, confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs, epilepsy, drowsiness and tremors.
   Gastrointestinal : Diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress, vomiting and nausea.
   Blood : Anemia, decrease in white blood cells and platelets.
   Liver Elevated liver function tests, liver inflammation and jaundice.
   Musculoskeletal : Muscle pain, temporary inability to move parts of your body.
   Skin : Hair loss, redness, itching, pale skin, rash or blisters and hives.
   Eye : Visual abnormalities.
   Genitourinary : Kidney failure, elevated blood urea nitrogen levels, blood in urine and urinating less than usual or not at all.

What are the other precautions for Acyclovir?

Avoid contact with eyes and excess dosage.
Avoid alcohol consumption.

What are the storage conditions for Acyclovir?

Store it at room temperature (15 to 25C) and protect from moisture.

Schedule : H
Prescription drugs - Drugs to be sold only under the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner.
Last Updated : July 2018

Acyclovir/Aciclovir: Antiviral Drug For Chickenpox, Cold Sores and Other Herpes Infections

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praveen, India

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