Acyclovir (or Aciclovir)

Acyclovir is an antiviral medication.

Pronunciation: A-sike-loh-veer

What are acyclovir’s uses?

Acyclovir’s benefit lies in it ability to treat two common viral infections: varicella-zoster (the cause of chickenpox and shingles) and herpes simplex (cold sores and genital herpes). It works by preventing viruses from dividing and multiplying. It is available over the counter as a treatment for cold sores on the lips and surrounding area. 

What dosage should you take?

Apply acyclovir ointment to the affected area every three hours. However, first check the correct dosage with your Clicks pharmacist.

What special precautions should you take?

  • Acyclovir in pregnancy should only be considered if your doctor thinks you need it.
  • Avoid strong sunlight and sunbeds, and use a sun cream with a high sun protection factor until you know how your skin reacts. Acyclovir may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight.

Acyclovir should be avoided if you are:

  • Allergic or sensitive to or have had a bad reaction to acyclovir
  • Dehydrated
  • Elderly
  • Battling with an impaired immune system
  • Struggling with kidney problems

What drug interactions could you experience?

To avoid adverse drug interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take.

What are acyclovir’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Visual changes
  • Fluid retention
  • Hair loss
  • Confusion

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

An overdose of acyclovir can cause kidney damage. Call a doctor or the ambulance immediately if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Kidney failure (no urine production)
The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015