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Aciclovir/Acyclovir (Zovirax) is an antiviral tablet, which is used to prevent or treat infections from the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It cannot completely cure herpes but will stop the growth of the virus and suppress the symptoms. Aciclovir can also be used as a means to prevent recurrent outbreaks. It is one of the most popular treatments in the UK for genital herpes.
Genital herpes is a common infection that causes painful blisters on the genitals and nearby areas. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The herpes virus can impact any mucous membrane on the body; this includes the moist lining of the mouth, where HSV manifests as cold sores. Genital herpes is most often transmitted through sexual contact, and so is commonly classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Like many STIs, HSV is highly contagious and can be spread by any direct contact with the affected areas.
Two types of HSV exist, type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Genital herpes is caused by one of two strains of HSV, type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Aciclovir will help to treat both strains of the virus.
If you begin to take Aciclovir as soon as symptoms appear, the outbreak will often disappear within one to two days. Recurrent outbreaks are usually preceded by a tingling or itching sensation. If you take Aciclovir as soon as you notice these signs, blisters may not occur at all. Aciclovir targets the enzyme that is necessary for the HSV to replicate and grow. By stopping further production of this enzyme, the virus cannot reproduce and create more blisters. This allows the immune system to fight the remaining virus and end the outbreak.
After taking Aciclovir, you should wait until the affected area has healed before resuming sexual activity. Once the virus has fully gone into remission, it will no longer be contagious. Aciclovir is the generic version of the brand Zovirax.
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Begin taking Aciclovir as soon as you notice symptoms of the herpes virus, which include visible blisters and a burning sensation. Each tablet is 400mg – take one tablet three a day for five days, or for as long as is prescribed. If you are taking Aciclovir to prevent future recurrences of herpes, 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.
HSV infections are contagious and can be spread even if you are taking Aciclovir. So, be sure to frequently wash your hands and do not allow the infected area to make contact with others.
Aciclovir can put stress on the kidneys, so ensure that you remain thoroughly hydrated while taking the tablets.
If you have forgotten to take a tablet, have it as soon as possible. Never double a dose to make up for
Not everyone will experience side effects when they take Aciclovir, however, if you do they may include:
Dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, allergic reaction, rash, stomach pain, fatigue, fever, heightened sensitivity to light
If you are concerned about these effects, or if the product affects you in any other way, stop using it and talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
The active ingredient contained in Aciclovir tablets is:
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.
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:
Please read all packaging and the Product Information Leaflet before taking any new medicine.
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If you are not home to accept your delivery, a card should be left by the Royal Mail representative. This card will provide details of where you can collect the order or how to arrange re-delivery.
Should you be unable to collect your missed delivery or arrange for your medication to be redelivered by Royal Mail, the pharmacy can resend your medication to the same, or a different address provided it has been returned to us and this happens within a
Once a package has been shipped with Royal Mail we advise that you are bound to the terms and conditions of their use together with the terms and conditions contained herein.
You have the right to cancel your order up to the point when your treatment is dispatched. The pharmacist must destroy any medication within 30 days of it being returned, even un-opened boxes, so we are not able to offer refunds once your treatment has been dispatched.
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We deliver by 5.30pm the next working day in the following postcode areas:
AB30 - 39, 41 - 45, 51 - 56
GY9 Alderney (Channel Islands)
HS1, 3 - 9
IV21 - 28, 40 - 49, 51 - 56
KW1 - 3, 5 - 15
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PA28 - 38, 41 - 49, 76, 77
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We deliver within two working days by 5.30pm to the following postcodes areas:
GY1 Herm (Channel Islands)
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PA60 - 75, 78
We deliver within three working days by 5.30pm to the following postcode areas:
KW16 - non-Town
PH30, 41 - 44
Please note: This applies to our 'Special Delivery' and 'Saturday Guaranteed' services.
We are currently unable to ship orders outside of the UK.
We are unable to ship orders to mailing or forwarding houses for onwards shipping to locations outside of the UK.
Yes, the two are one and the same thing – an antiviral medication used to treat HSV infections, chickenpox and shingles. The Independent Pharmacy is able to prescribe Aciclovir online to treat genital herpes.
Aciclovir tablets are not antibiotics – they are an antiviral medication. Antibiotics are used to fight bacterial (not viral) infections.
Yes, you can take Aciclovir tablets to treat cold sores. In some cases, they can be more effective than cream. However, they are usually prescribed for more severe cold sore outbreaks. The Independent Pharmacy are able to provide Aciclovir 400mg tablets to treat genital herpes and Aciclovir 200mg tablets to treat cold sores.
No. Aciclovir is a topical antiviral drug, but it is not a steroid.
Yes, it is generally thought that Aciclovir is safe to take long term over several months, which is helpful for those who experience recurrent genital herpes to keep it under control. The side effects are few and rarely serious.
Aciclovir has occasional side effects, which most commonly include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and sometimes tiredness (if you are on a higher dose).
Aciclovir is used to treat viral infections. This makes it an unsuitable treatment for thrush, which is a fungal infection.
One of the less common side effects of Aciclovir is that it can make you feel slightly tired, particularly if you’re taking a higher dose to combat shingles. You shouldn't get this side effect if you are treating genital herpes.
It’s thought that most herpes medication is relatively safe to take while pregnant, at least in the early stages of pregnancy. Ensure that you speak to your doctor/consultant for a specific recommendation if you need to treat herpes if you are pregnant. To our knowledge, Aciclovir tablets are not associated with birth defects.
Some medicines can interact with the contraceptive pill and prevent it from working as it should. However, there are no known interactions between Aciclovir and the contraceptive pill, so it is safe to take both at the same time. However, if you experience any side effects such as vomiting or diarrhoea, be aware that both can impact the pill’s effectiveness.
There is no evidence to suggest that taking Aciclovir has any direct link to weight gain.
There is some research to suggest that Aciclovir can contribute to hair loss in some patients, however, it is one of the less common side effects.
No – Aciclovir is a prescription-only treatment that must be prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist. You can purchase Aciclovir through The Independent Pharmacy following an online consultation.
When you buy Aciclovir, you’ll find an expiration date on the packaging. While taking out-of-date medication is unlikely to cause harm, it does reduce the likelihood of the treatment being effective, so we always recommend replacing your medicine if it is out-of-date.
Aciclovir can be taken with or without food – it’s up to you – but taking it with food may help to reduce the likelihood of getting an upset stomach. Each dose of Aciclovir should be taken with a large glass of water.
Ideally, you should start taking Aciclovir as soon as possible after symptoms have started to present themselves. It can also be taken as a preventative measure for long-term sufferers. If it’s your first time taking Aciclovir, the first course will likely be around 10 days. The results are not instantaneous, so keep using the treatment consistently as instructed to start seeing an improvement.
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