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Acyclovir is a drug with antiviral action indicated for the prevention or treatment of infections of the skin or mucous membranes caused by the Herpes simplex virus or Herpes zoster. However, this remedy does not cure infections, but lessens the severity and reduces the duration of symptoms such as a burning sensation, burning or blistering of the skin, for example.
This remedy helps the blisters to heal faster, preventing the formation of new sores, reduces the itching and relieves the pain that these blisters cause at the time of the outbreak and after they have healed. In immunocompromised people, that is, with a weakened immune system, acyclovir can lower the risk of the virus spreading to other parts of the body and causing serious infections.
Acyclovir can be found in pharmacies or drugstores in the form of 200 mg or 400 mg tablets, eye cream or ointment under the trade name Zovirax, Hpmix or Hervirax, or under the generic name acyclovir and should be used with medical indication. In addition, acyclovir can be found in the form of an injection applied directly into a vein, made in the hospital by a nurse, according to the medical indication.
What is it for
Acyclovir is indicated for the treatment of infections caused by Herpes zoster, Varicella-zoster virus, or Herpes simplex virus infections of the skin and mucous membranes, including initial or recurrent genital herpes.
In addition, it is also used in the treatment of herpetic meningoencephalitis or infections caused by Cytomegalovirus.
How acyclovir works
Acyclovir is an active substance that works by blocking the multiplication mechanisms of the Herpes simplex, Herpes zoster, Varicella zoster, Esptein Barr and Cytomegalovirus viruses, preventing them from multiplying and infecting new cells.However, this remedy does not kill the virus and does not cure the infection, but it does help to decrease the duration of the infection and the severity of the symptoms.
How to use
Acyclovir should be used in doses established by the doctor, as they vary according to the virus to be treated, the person's he alth status and the form of drug presentation, which include:
1. Acyclovir Cream 50 mg/g
Aciclovir cream is indicated for the treatment of skin or mucosal infections caused by the Herpes simplex virus, including genital and labial herpes, and can be used from the first symptoms of infection such as burning or burning sensation.
This cream should be used by applying a layer over the blister or wound on the skin or mucosa, 5 times a day, at intervals of about 4 hours, skipping the application at night. It is recommended to wash your hands with water and mild soap, before and after applying the cream to prevent the infection from worsening or spreading to other parts of the body.
Treatment with acyclovir cream should continue for at least 4 days for cold sores and for 5 days for genital herpes. If healing does not occur, treatment should be continued for another 5 days and if lesions remain after 10 days, consult a doctor.
Acyclovir cream should not be used in the eyes, as there is a specific ointment for ophthalmic use.
2. Acyclovir 200 or 400 mg tablet
Acyclovir tablet should be used orally, in doses and for the duration of treatment established by the doctor. However, if you forget to take a dose on time, take it as soon as you remember, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. In no case should the dose be doubled to make up for the missed dose.
The dosage must be established by the doctor, according to the problem to be treated and includes:
- Treatment of Herpes Simplex in Adults: the recommended dose is 1 tablet of 200 mg, 5 times a day, with intervals of approximately 4 hours, skipping the night dose.Treatment should be continued for 5 days, and should be extended in severe early infections. In people who are severely immunocompromised or have problems with intestinal absorption, the dose may be increased to 400 mg or the physician may consider intravenous medication;
- Suppression of Herpes Simplex in Immunocompetent Adults: The recommended dose is 1 tablet of 200 mg, 4 times a day, at intervals of approximately 6 hours, or 1 tablet of 400 mg, 2 times a day, approximately 12 hours apart. The dose may be reduced by the physician to 200 mg 3 times daily at approximately 8 hour intervals, or up to 2 times daily at approximately 12 hour intervals;
- Prevention of Herpes Simplex in Immunocompromised Adults: The recommended dose is 1 tablet of 200 mg, 4 times a day, at approximately 6-hour intervals. For people who are seriously immunocompromised or have problems with intestinal absorption, the dose may be increased to 400 mg or, the physician should consider intravenous medication;
- Treatment of Herpes Zoster in Adults: the recommended dose is 800 mg, 5 times a day, at approximately 4-hour intervals, skipping the nightly doses, for 7 days. In people who are severely immunocompromised or have problems with intestinal absorption, the physician should consider intravenous medication. Dose administration should be started as soon as possible after the onset of infection;
- Treatment in seriously immunocompromised patients: the recommended dose is 800 mg, 4 times a day, at approximately 6-hour intervals.
In infants, children and the elderly, the dose of acyclovir tablet should be adjusted by the physician according to the person's body weight and he alth status.
3. Ophthalmic ointment 30 mg/g
Acyclovir Ophthalmic Ointment is indicated for the treatment of keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea caused by herpes simplex virus infection.
Before using this ointment, wash your hands well with water and mild soap. To apply the ophthalmic ointment, one should gently press the finger into the skin just below the lower eyelid and pull the lower eyelid away from the eye to make a pouch. Then apply about 1 centimeter of the ointment released by the tube into the pouch between the lower eyelid and the eyeball of the affected eye, 5 times a day, at intervals of approximately 4 hours. Close the eye for 1 to 2 minutes after application, and wash hands again with water and mild soap.
After healing is observed, the ophthalmic ointment should continue to be applied for at least another 3 days.
Possible side effects
Some of the most common side effects that may occur during treatment with acyclovir tablets are headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and pain in the abdomen, itching and redness, skin bumps that may worsen with sun exposure, feeling tired and fever.
In some cases, the cream may cause temporary burning or stinging, mild dryness, peeling skin, or itching.
Ophthalmic ointment can lead to corneal lesions, mild and transient stinging sensation after application of the ointment, local irritation or conjunctivitis.
Who should not use
Acyclovir should not be used by people who are allergic to acyclovir or valacyclovir, propylene glycol, or any of the components of the formula. In addition, it is also not recommended for pregnant women or women intending to become pregnant, or for breastfeeding women, unless directed to do so by their doctor.
Contact lenses should not be worn during treatment with acyclovir eye ointment.