Why is this medication prescribed?
Cold sores on the lips or face (also known as fever blisters; blisters brought on by the herpes simplex virus) are treated with acyclovir cream. First outbreaks of genital herpes, a herpes virus infection that occasionally results in sores developing around the genitalia and rectum, are treated with acyclovir ointment. It is also used to treat some types of herpes simplex lesions in persons with weakened immune systems. Acyclovir is a member of the synthetic nucleoside analogues class of antiviral drugs. It functions by preventing the herpes virus from spreading throughout the body. Acyclovir does not treat cold sores or genital herpes, prevent their breakouts, or halt the transmission of these disorders to other people.
How should this medicine be used?
Acyclovir for topical use comes in cream and ointment forms for skin application. Typically, acyclovir cream is used five times daily for four days. Acyclovir cream can be used at any point during an outbreak of cold sores, but it functions best when used right away, when there is only tingling, redness, itching, or a bump and no cold sore has yet developed. For seven days, acyclovir ointment is typically administered six times each day, spaced typically three hours apart. The optimal time to start taking acyclovir ointment is as soon as you see the first signs of infection. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Apply topical acyclovir as prescribed. Use it only as directed by your doctor, neither more nor less often.
During the course of your topical acyclovir treatment, your symptoms ought to become better. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not disappear or worsen.
Acyclovir cream and ointment should only be applied topically. Avoid getting acyclovir cream or ointment in your eyes, mouth, or nose, and avoid swallowing the medicine.
Only the skin where a cold sore has developed or is likely to do so should be treated with acyclovir cream. Applying acyclovir lotion to unaffected skin or genital herpes lesions is not advised.
If you are using acyclovir cream to treat a cold sore, avoid using any other skin drugs or other forms of skin treatments, such as cosmetics, sunscreen, or lip balm, unless your doctor instructs you to.
Use acyclovir cream as directed by the manufacturer:
- Sanitise your hands.
- The skin region where you will apply the cream should be well cleaned and dried.
- The skin where the cold sore has developed or appears likely to develop should be covered with a layer of cream.
- Till the cream is gone, gently massage it into the skin.
- Keep the area of skin exposed where you applied the medication. Applying a bandage or dressing is not advised unless your doctor advises you to.
- To get rid of any cream that may still be on your hands, wash them with soap and water.
- Try to avoid washing the cream off your skin. Avoid bathing, taking a shower, or swimming right after using an acyclovir cream.
- While applying an acyclovir cream, avoid irritating the cold sore region.
Take the following actions to apply acyclovir ointment:
- Put on a fresh rubber or fingercot.
- Put enough cream on your sores to completely cover them.
- Remove the rubber glove or finger cot and properly dispose of it out of children’s reach.
- Avoid covering the affected area with tightly fitting clothing and keep the affected area(s) clean and dry.
For a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient, ask your pharmacist or doctor. Before beginning to use acyclovir and each time you renew your prescription, read this information.
Other uses for this medicine
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using topical acyclovir,
- If you have an allergy to acyclovir, valacyclovir (Valtrex), any other drugs, or any of the ingredients in acyclovir cream or ointment, let your doctor and pharmacist know right once. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
- Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
- Inform your physician if you currently have or have ever had any immune-compromising conditions, such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (AIDS).
- Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking acyclovir.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
As soon as you realise you missed a dose, administer it. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. Never double-up on cream or ointment to make up for a forgotten dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Acyclovir topical side effects are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:
- Cracked or parched lips
- Dry, flaky, or peeling skin
- Skin that is burning or itching
- Where you apply the drug, there may be redness, swelling, or irritation.
Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if any of these symptoms occur to you:
- Breathing or swallowing challenges
- Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, lower legs, or the face, throat, lips, eyes, or eyeballs
Acyclovir topical may result in additional adverse effects. If you experience any strange issues while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.
You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication out of the reach of children, in the original container it came in, with the cap on and tightly closed. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom). In cold or hot weather, never leave this medication in a moving vehicle.
Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p for additional information.
As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
Call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison control centre if someone consumes topical acyclovir. Dial 911 to reach the nearest emergency services if the sufferer has collapsed or has stopped breathing.
What other information should I know?
Keep all of your doctor’s appointments.
Do not share your medication with anybody else. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.
You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.
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