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|Type of medicine||Antiviral cold sore treatment|
|Works by||Aciclovir antiviral tablets for cold sores help to prevent the herpes simplex virus from growing and spreading. It does not kill the virus but aids your body’s immune system to fight off the infection, clearing your cold sores.|
|Effective within||Three days|
|Pack size||15 tablets|
|Common side effects||Dizziness, headache, nausea|
|Use with alcohol||No known issues|
Aciclovir for Cold Sores Information
What is Aciclovir?
Aciclovir is one of the most effective cold sore tablets UK citizens can take. It’s a prescription medicine that’s highly effective at targeting the herpes simplex virus that is responsible for causing cold sores. Aciclovir is categorised as an antiviral medicine. Antiviral medications are used for treating viral infections.
Aciclovir tablets for cold sores can be taken as soon as tingling, itching or burning starts, which indicates you are developing a cold sore. Taking Aciclovir five times a day for up to seven days has been clinically proven to speed up healing, decrease the severity in which you are affected and even prevent cold sores from turning into breakouts.
What is Aciclovir used for?
Aciclovir tablets are one of the leading treatments for symptoms of cold sores. They can also be used to treat the herpes simplex virus that causes genital herpes. We also supply Aciclovir to treat genital herpes.
What are cold sores?
A cold sore is a virus that can be caught from something as simple as sharing a lip balm. It typically starts as a tingling, burning sensation somewhere around the mouth. This can then spread to your nose and/or cheeks.
Cold sores (also known as fever blisters) are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is a similar strain of the virus that causes genital herpes infections and the herpes zoster virus which causes chickenpox and shingles.
Cold sores can be triggered by a range of issues, from the weather to your mood. These are some of the most common cold sore triggers:
- Changes to your hormone levels
- Being out in a cold wind
- Weak immune system
- Exposure to the hot sun
- Having a cold
As symptoms of cold sores develop, they often appear as clusters of small, fluid-filled blisters that burst and become dry and crusty. Cold sores are very contagious from the moment you feel the tell-tale tingling sensation. Without treatment, most outbreaks will clear within 10 days.
It’s common for people to get recurrent cold sores in the same places. This is because the virus lives dormant in the nerve cells of your skin, reappearing once it’s triggered.
Aciclovir can help to clear up cold sores more quickly, with noticeable results within five to seven days. For the best results, when using this treatment it should be taken as soon as you feel an outbreak coming on. Taking painkillers and drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids can also help to make you feel more comfortable.
How does Aciclovir work?
Aciclovir antiviral tablets for cold sores help to prevent the herpes simplex virus from growing and spreading. It does not kill the virus but aids your body’s immune system to fight off the infection, clearing your cold sores.
There is currently no treatment that can permanently kill the virus within your body, even cold sore tablets like Aciclovir can’t permanently remove it. Once you have become infected with the herpes simplex virus, the virus will always be present in your body even if you do not have a visible cold sore at the time.
Taking Aciclovir tablets is an effective way of treating cold sores. But this isn’t the only treatment available to you. We’ve listed a couple of the other ways you can treat cold sores below:
Aciclovir 5% cream
Aciclovir cream is an antiviral cream that’s used to treat recurrent cold sores. It can vastly reduce the severity and length of your outbreaks if taken before a cold sore comes out.
Compeed is a cold sore treatment that comes in patch form and provides quick relief from your symptoms. The patches can be applied directly to a cold sore as soon as it appears, helping to soothe discomfort and reduce scabbing.
Find out more about alternative types of herpes treatment
You can learn about the herpes treatments available to you by reading our guide to the differences between genital herpes and cold sores.
Aciclovir dosage for cold sores
Begin taking Aciclovir 400mg tablets as soon as you notice symptoms of the herpes virus (cold sores), which include visible blisters and a burning sensation.
Each tablet is 400mg – take one tablet three times a day for five days, or for as long as is prescribed. If you are taking Aciclovir to prevent future recurrences of herpes (cold sores), you will likely be prescribed two tablets per day for a period of three to six months.
Swallow each tablet whole with a sip of water. Aciclovir can be taken with or without food.
The active ingredient contained in Aciclovir tablets are:
- Aciclovir PhEur
Aciclovir tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients to make up the complete product:
- Colloidal anhydrous silica, magnesium stearate, polyvidone, sodium starch glycollate, E172, E460.
Aciclovir side effects
Not everyone will experience side effects when they take Aciclovir, however, if you do they may include:
- Allergic reaction
- Stomach pain
- Heightened sensitivity to light
If you are concerned about these side effects, or if the product affects you in any other way, stop using it and seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist.
Read more about Aciclovir side effects here.
Reading the following warnings carefully will help to ensure you are selecting an appropriate product.
Before you take Aciclovir, inform your doctor of any kidney problems or nervous system abnormalities. Remaining fully hydrated while taking Aciclovir will minimise the effect on the kidneys.
Inform your doctor of any medicines you are taking or intend to take, especially:
- Cimetidine (for peptic ulcers)
- Probenecid (for gout)
- Mycophenolate mofetil
- Ciclosporin (an immunosuppressant)
- Theophylline (for asthma)
- Zidovudine (for HIV infections)
Please read all packaging and the Product Information Leaflet before taking any new medicine.
Whilst alcohol is not prohibited whilst taking this medication, it is important to limit consumption to allow the medication to work properly. Take a look at our Aciclovir tablets and alcohol page for further information.