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|Type of medicine||Antiviral|
|Works by||Stop the growth of the virus and suppress the symptoms|
|Effective within||2-5 days|
|Pack size||Multiples of 15 or 6 x 28|
|Common side effects||Dizziness, headache, nausea and diarrhea|
|Manufacturer||Almus, Accord, Ranbaxy, Crescent and many others|
|Use with alcohol||No known issues|
Aciclovir 400mg Tablets information
What is Aciclovir and what is it used for?
Aciclovir is an antiviral tablet, which is used to prevent or treat infections from the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can cause both cold sores, typically seen around the mouth, and genital herpes that can appear in and around the genitals and anus. Read more about what aciclovir is used for here.
Aciclovir tablets are a generic brand containing the active ingredient aciclovir. The branded version of this medicine is Zovirax. It is cheaper to buy here in its non-branded form, but equally as effective.
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.
How does Aciclovir work?
If you begin to take Aciclovir 400mg as soon as symptoms appear, the outbreak will often disappear within 1-2 days. Recurrent outbreaks are usually preceded by a tingling or itching sensation.
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.
Alternatives to Aciclovir
Aciclovir tablets are a prescription-only treatment for genital herpes. Other prescriptions, antiviral treatments include; Valtrex and the generic branded version that includes the same active ingredient, Valaciclovir.
If you do not fancy using prescription medications to help ease your symptoms or you want to try some non-medicinal alternative treatments alongside Aciclovir, helpful things to try include:
- Cleaning the area with water or saltwater to promote healing
- Avoid wearing tight clothing
- Use pain relief such as paracetamol
- Try to avoid your known outbreak triggers such as excess alcohol.
- Use Vaseline on the blisters to promote healing and relieve pain.
Begin taking Aciclovir 400mg tablets as soon as you notice symptoms of the herpes virus, which include visible blisters and a burning sensation.
- Take 1 tablet three times a day for 5 days, or for as long as is prescribed with a glass of water. If you are taking Aciclovir to prevent future recurrences of herpes, you will likely be prescribed 2 tablets per day for a period of 3-6 months.
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.
The active ingredient contained in Aciclovir tablets is: Aciclovir 400mg.
Aciclovir tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients: 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 effects, or if the product affects you in any other way, stop using it and talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Reading the following warnings carefully will help to ensure you are selecting an appropriate product.
Before you take Aciclovir, inform your doctor if any of the following apply to you:
- you have a kidney problem or nervous system abnormalities. Remain fully hydrated while taking Aciclovir will minimise the effect on the kidneys.
Aciclovir and other medicines
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 Patient Information Leaflet before taking any new medicine.
Aciclovir and alcohol
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.
What is Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes is a common infection that causes painful blisters on the genitals and nearby areas, caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
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.
Once you contract the herpes virus, you cannot cure the virus completely; however, you can use antiviral medication to treat symptoms and keep outbreaks at bay.
Read more in our helpful How Can You Get Genital Herpes guide.
Are cold sores the same as herpes?
Cold sores and genital herpes are both caused by the herpes virus, but they are caused by different strains of the virus. Small blisters appear on the lips and face as cold sores, caused by the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). The HSV-2 virus causes genital herpes, which is spread through sexual contact. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause mouth and genital sores.
Learn more about the differences between cold sores and genital herpes in our detailed guide.
How can women catch genital herpes?
While genital herpes is more commonly transmitted from men to women than from women to men, anyone can contract genital herpes through skin-to-skin contact.
Skin-to-skin contact is typically caused by sexual transmissions. Women can catch genital herpes by:
- Vaginal sex
- Anal sex
- Oral sex
- Non-penetrative genital contact
- Infection spread through the fingers
- Sharing of sex toys
Herpes genitalis is most commonly transmitted through vaginal, oral or anal sex. As with most sexually transmitted infections, having multiple sexual partners will increase your risk of contracting the virus.
Genital herpes is highly contagious and easily transmitted. You can pass on the STI at any stage of the virus (from tingling at the start of a new outbreak to when sores heal), and you can also pass the virus on even if you don't have any symptoms.
What are the symptoms of genital herpes?
In some cases of genital herpes outbreaks, you won’t experience any symptoms at all, but you can still be contagious. More commonly, you will notice changes in the affected area around 2 to 12 days after exposure to the virus.
Common symptoms of genital herpes include:
- Small blisters around the genitals that burst and leave open sores.
- Red bumps.
- Itching, pain or tenderness in the genital area.
- Bleeding or oozing ulcers.
- Pain when urinating.
- Unusual vaginal discharge.
Sores may appear differently depending on where they crop up on your body. They often occur in the following areas:
- Buttocks and thighs
- Vagina or penis
If you do notice signs of the condition, no matter where it appears, it’s important to seek a genital herpes treatment to reduce symptoms and prevent further outbreaks.
Is genital herpes curable?
While there is no cure for herpes, the virus's severity varies over the course of a person's lifetime. Over time, recurrent genital herpes outbreaks generally become less frequent and less severe, but it is still important to monitor your symptoms with antiviral medication if symptoms do come back.
Aciclovir 400mg Tablets reviews
Aciclovir 400mg Tablets FAQs
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.
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.