Penciclovir is an antiviral medication.

Pronunciation: pen-SYE-kloe-vir

What are penciclovir’s uses?

Penciclovir is a topical medication used in the treatment of recurrent cold sores (fever blisters) caused by the herpes simplex virus. Please note, it does not cure these viral infections, but helps to reduce the symptoms of pain and itchiness.

What dosage should you take?

For adults, the elderly and children 12 years and older, the topical cream should be applied every two hours during the day for four days. This generally works out to eight doses a day.

Penciclovir’s safety and efficacy has not been established for children under the age of 12 years.

However, first check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist.

What special precautions should you take?

  • Treatment should begin for cold sores as soon as symptoms begin.
  • Penciclovir topical should be used on the lips and face, and is for external use only. The cream should not be used in the nose near the eye area.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after applying penciclovir topical.
  • Apply enough cream to cover the affected area.
  • Do not share medication as it can spread infection.
  • Continue using the medication as directed even if you are feeling better. ,
  • Speak to your doctor about the necessity of using this medication if you are breastfeeding or during pregnancy.
  • If symptoms do not clear up, see your doctor as this may be a sign of a secondary bacterial infection.

Penciclovir should be avoided if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • A penciclovir, acyclovir or famciclovir allergy

What drug interactions could you experience?

As a rule, 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 to ensure you don’t suffer the effects of adverse drug interactions.

What are penciclovir’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

  • Headache
  • Localised numbness or tingling where cream has been applied
  • Rash
  • Changes to taste

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?

Call a doctor or the ambulance immediately if a large dose has been consumed.

Allergic reactions to penciclovir are rare, but seek medical attention if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Swelling (face, tongue and throat)
  • Severe dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in August 2015