Your doctor has ordered acyclovir, an antiviral agent, to help treat your infection. The medication will be added to an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle or catheter placed in your vein for at least 60 minutes every 8 hours for 5 to 10 days.
herpes infections of the skin, nose, and mouth in people with weak immune systems
herpes infections in newborn infants
herpes simplex encephalitis (brain infection with swelling caused by the herpes virus)
varicella-zoster (shingles; a rash that can occur in people who have had chickenpox in the past) in people with weak immune systems
the first outbreak of a genital herpes infection (a herpes virus infection that causes sores to form around the genitals and rectum from time to time)
Acyclovir is in a class of antiviral medications known as synthetic nucleoside analogues. It works by stopping the spread of the herpes virus in the body. Acyclovir will not cure genital herpes and may not stop the spread of genital herpes to other people. This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
This medication is most effective if started soon after the first signs of infection appear.
Your symptoms should improve during your treatment with acyclovir. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
Your health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) may measure the effectiveness and side effects of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. The length of treatment depends on how your infection and symptoms respond to the medication.
Before you use acyclovir, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Gently squeeze the bag or observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks. Do not use the solution if it is discolored, if it contains particles, or if the bag or container leaks. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your health care provider.
It is important that you use your medication exactly as directed. Do not stop your therapy on your own or skip doses for any reason because your infection could worsen and result in hospitalization or could become more difficult to treat. Do not change your dosing schedule without talking to your health care provider. Your health care provider may tell you to stop your infusion if you have a mechanical problem (such as a blockage in the tubing, needle, or catheter). If you have to stop an infusion, call your health care provider immediately so your therapy can continue.
loss of appetite
muscle or joint pain
rash or blisters
difficulty breathing or swallowing
swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that are not really there)
shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control
unusual bleeding or bruising
numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
temporary inability to move part of your body
stomach pain or cramps
Acyclovir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Your health care provider will probably tell you to store your medication at room temperature. Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand how to store your medication properly. Throw away any medication that is expired or no longer needed. Talk to your health care provider about the proper disposal of your medication.
Keep your supplies in a clean, dry place when you are not using them, and keep all medications and supplies out of reach of children. Your health care provider will tell you how to throw away used needles, syringes, tubing, and containers to avoid accidental injury.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
loss of consciousness
swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
decrease in urination
Last Reviewed - 09/01/2010
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.