How Does Acyclovir Work, Know its Safety & Effectiveness in Reducing the Symptoms of Herpes

How Does Acyclovir Works?

Acyclovir is a popular antiviral drug that is used to prevent herpes virus from spreading. It also slows down the growth of the virus in the patient’s body. This drug does not serve as the cure for herpes but just relieves that patient from the symptoms. It can be used effectively against various herpes viruses such as shingles, cold sores, genital herpes and chicken pox.

A patient needs to take care of a few things before taking this drug. This drug is not suitable to someone who is allergic to valacyclovir or acyclovir. Buccal (acyclovir) Tablets are strictly restricted for patients who are allergic to milk proteins.

If you are suffering from herpes and have any type of kidney disease or immunity problem, make sure that your doctor knows about it. Acyclovir is put into FDA pregnancy category B drug. It means that it can be taken safely by a pregnant woman without any risk of affecting the growth of the baby. However, it is important that your doctor knows about your pregnancy or plans of getting pregnant.

Acyclovir works against various simplex virus including varicella-zoster virus (VZV), types 2 (HSV-2) and type 1 (HSV-1). Acyclovir has different mechanisms to prevent herpes virus from spreading or multiplying. It is comparatively more effective against HSV as compared to VZV.

How Does Acyclovir Works?

How Safe is Acyclovir in Reducing the Symptoms of Herpes?

Acyclovir is pretty safe but there are always some chances of side-effects with the use of Acyclovir. The common side-effects that can effect anyone who does not have any other medical issues, takes no other medicines and lies between the age group of 18-60 are as follows;

  • Some common symptoms of discomfort such as vomiting, nausea, headache and diarrhea. Those who are taking Buccal tablets can also experience pain in mouth. In a very few cases, it may also affects kidney or lead to various bleeding disorders.
  • It is strongly restricted for patients who are dehydrated, having kidney problems or taking certain medications.
  • A patient is required to take Acyclovir five times a day.

How Effective is Acyclovir in Reducing the Symptoms of Herpes?

Acyclovir can be used effectively to treat any patients infected by herpes causing viruses such as cold sores, genital herpes, chicken pox and shingles. It is important to remember that it is cannot be used as treatment option against varicella zoster virus or genital herpes.

  • It is best to start Acyclovir treatment within 72 hours from the occurrence of the herpes symptoms including blisters, rash, burning and tingling.
  • Never skip any of the dosages of acyclovir and stick to the recommended dosage strictly, even if you do not feel the need of the medication.
  • Always shake the acyclovir oral suspension must be shaken well before every usage and measured correctly using a dosing syringe or medicine cup to ensure that the amount is as prescribed.
  • In case you are asked to take buccal tablets for the treatment of cold sore, the right way to place the buccal tablet is to keep the flat side behind your lip over the upper gums. Now, close your mouth and hold the medicine in the same position for about half a minute. Once the tablet dissolves completely, you can resume your normal mouth activities.
  • If you suspect that the usage of the drug is affecting your weight, let your doctor know about the situation immediately.
  • Avoid dehydrating your body while taking acyclovir.
  • Although acyclovir is not recommended to be used against common cold or flu virus.
  • Shingles rash or a cold sore must be kept dry and clean to minimize the chances of spreading virus. Also use a separate towel or a tissue paper. Irritation caused by shingles rash can be minimized by wearing loose clothes.
  • IF you experience any signs of allergy including facial or throat swelling; hives or difficulty breathing, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Herpes virus can easily be transmitted from one person to another. Thus, it is strongly recommended to keep the rash covered. Do not touch rash.

Acyclovir is very effective. Oral intake of acyclovir can take about 2 hours to start working in the patient’s body. The symptoms of acyclovir should start to ease out from the third day from the start of the treatment. However, the treatment must be continued for the prescribed duration. Also, the treatment must be started within 48 hours from the occurrence of the symptoms.


Acyclovir is a good and effective in preventing infections caused by varicella zoster or herpes virus from spreading. It is particularly more effective if the treatment is started within 48 hours from the occurrence of the symptoms.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 27, 2017

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