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About Acyclovir

If you've used Acyclovir, please help others by adding your feedback. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

Subj: Itching
Date: 3/17/2009
I am taking acyclovir for lips fever blisters. I have waken up in the middle of the night for itchy over the body especially on the parts contacted on the bed. Could this be a side effect of this medicine? I am supposed to take this medicine for five days, three times a day, and I am just about half way through this medication. Should I stop taking it?

AskDocWeb: Widespread itching can indicate an allergic reaction so call your doctor for specific advice.

Subj: How long should it take?
Date: 3/18/2009
How long should it take for the Acyclovir to work? My husband is taking the meds for shingles and after 2 days it is still spreading. He is taking 800mg 5 times a day for 5 days.

AskDocWeb: Typically you can expect the crusting over and healing of sores in a few days depending on the strength of the immune system.

Subj: Acyclovir cream for psoriasis?
Date: 3/24/2009
Recently I was suggested to use acyclovir cream for a psoriasis lesion on my leg, do you have any information that this may help?


AskDocWeb: Yes, others have found the Acyclovir cream to be helpful in treating psoriasis lesions. Since we are always on the lookout for alternative treatments we found the following interesting.

In a study was published in August, 2004, Acyclovir was compared to the use of honey in treating recurrent cold sores and genital herpes. The study concluded that honey relieves herpes better than Acyclovir. Honey worked much better than acyclovir in terms of reduced attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and healing time. The people who used honey instead of Acyclovir cream shortened their healing time by 43% for cold sores and 59% for genital herpes sores.

The patients were asked to randomly use either acyclovir or honey treatment during the first attack. They were instructed to initiate treatment within 1 hour of the appearance of first sign or symptom of recurrence.

With acyclovir treatment, none of the attacks went into complete remission, and all the lesions developed a crust. No side effects were noted with repeated applications of honey, whereas 3 patients developed local itching with Acyclovir.

When honey was used as the treatment, the lesions were firmly pressed with gauze soaked with honey for 15 minutes, 4 times a day, until completely healed. When acyclovir cream was used, it was applied 6 times a day.

Here is one of the most ancient recipes for a remedy for skin lesions. It is modernized by the use of a double boiler: In a double boiler melt the following together: 1 part honey, 1 part beeswax and 1 part olive oil. Soak a cloth in this mixture and apply to the skin lesion.

Research source: Al-Waili NS. Topical honey application vs. Acyclovir for the treatment of recurrent herpes simplex lesions. Med Sci Monit. 2004 Aug;10(8):MT94-8. Epub 2004 Jul 23.

Subj: My tongue turns white
Date: 3/27/2009
I am 53yrs. old, and I have been getting herpes breakouts in my left cornea for over 30yrs. The longest period of time was 10 years without a breakout, now it seems to have it's own clock, every 2 years. When I take Acyclovir, my tongue turns white. Is this normal?

AskDocWeb: It has not been reported here before. There are many medical conditions that can cause your tongue to turn white. Here are some of the possibilities. There are other possible causes so ask your doctor about this.
  • AIDS
  • Alcohol
  • Broad spectrum antibiotics
  • Candidiasis
  • Chronic illness
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Fluticasone asthma puffers
  • Immunosuppression
  • Immunosuppressive medications
  • Keratosis pharyngis
  • Leukoplakia
  • Leukoplakia
  • Malignancies
  • Mechanical trauma to tongue
  • Oral candidiasis
  • Oral lichen planus
  • Oral manifestations of skin conditions
  • Oral thrush
  • Smoking
  • Steroid inhalers
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Jaundice causes a yellow tongue.

Subj: Effects on liver?
Date: 3/28/2009
I have been taking acyclovir for 4 years for suppression (400mg bd), below 600 I get mild symptoms, and when I stopped last year had a massive sore within 3 days and another 10 days later. I have had no side effects at all but now have very elevated liver function results. (ALT64, Serum Gamma 178, Ferritin 204. There is a possibility this is Haemachromatosis and I am awaiting more tests, but is there any evidence of acyclovir having such effects on the liver?

AskDocWeb: We haven't come across any references to liver problems, just the kidneys (decreased urine production). The liver and kidneys work together to remove Acyclovir from the body. Patients with disease in these organs may have additional possible complications. Dehydration or kidney disease may increase blood levels of Acyclovir which would increase the chance of side effects.

Subj: Acyclovir works great
Date: 3/28/2009
I have been having outbreaks for about 5 years on my lips. I get blisters that hurt but I didn't know what it was. I was prescribed acyclover and it works great. I do have a loss of appetite and I think my 9 year old daughter has the same problem. I will ask her doctor about it.

Subj: Becoming immune to Acyclovir
Date: 3/30/2009
In one of the previous comments you said you'd never heard of anyone becoming immune to acyclovir so I just thought I'd let you know that it happened to me. I have hsv-2 for the first 3 months I had constant outbreaks one right after the other until I got on acyclovir it worked and I didn't have an outbreak lasting longer then 2 days for 5 months on suppressive therapy now(even after upping my dosage). I continue to have outbreaks continuously one within a day of the previous even with a restricted diet and continuing the meds it not only continues but is spreading to cover a larger area. Just thought you should know.

AskDocWeb: While this appears rare, it does happen and we thank you for sharing.

Subj: Mucosal damage to the colon lining?
Date: 3/30/2009
I have taken acyclovir for 11 years, soon after I had to have a full protocolectomy. I have read medical reports that link mucosal damage to the colon lining, from the oral dose of acyclovir. It states that a direct irritant effect is the result of the oral dose, since it is slowly absorbed. Can you tell me of any other information on this subject?

AskDocWeb: Medical reports are subject to interpretation and can sometimes be misunderstood. Just because something is absorbed slowly does not mean that it causes irritation. We were unable to locate any clinical trials or studies that covered this possibility.

Subj: Is there truth to this theory?
Date: 4/1/2009
I have used Zovirax/ acyclovir for 3 yrs. now as a suppressant for genital herpes. I was suffering from constant outbreaks for years. So far, I have had none since using this regimen. But a medical friend just informed me that suppressing herpes virus causes Herpes and other viruses to recede and hide in the body, mutating into another resistant form.... and that the virus needs to escape and run its course rather than be suppressed. Is there truth to this theory, is it unsafe in the long run? She also said that acupuncture can help with this?

AskDocWeb: If allowing an outbreak to run its course would provide immunity to all future outbreaks then we would agree with your friend. Sadly, that is not the case. Let's try your friend's argument on another disease. Imagine there is a disease that is fatal for one of every ten people who get it, but the ones who recover develop an immunity and never get it again. If there were a vaccine for this imaginary disease it sounds like your friend would be against using the vaccine. Do you really want to improve the human race by letting the weak die?

By the way, we have seen absolutely no evidence that acupuncture has any affect on a virus.

Subj: Cluster headaches
Date: 4/8/2009
My doctor wants me to try acyclovir for Cluster Headaches. I have chronic clusters that won't let up. Not the "classic" cluster." Has there been any studies with acyclovir and cluster or migraines? Many thank in advance,

AskDocWeb: There has been a few reports that Acyclovir reduced symptoms but no official studies yet.

Subj: Feel stronger and more healthy
Date: 4/13/2009
My doctor just prescribed Acyclovir for me as I have 2 types of viruses -- 1) Epstein Barr Virus which lowers my immunity to infections and 2) Cytomegalo Virus due to my decreased immunity. It seems to be working well, I feel better, but have not taken this drug long term yet. Doctor prescribed this med for 3 months at 4 tablets a day, 400 mg. each. I feel it is definitely making me feel stronger and more healthy at this point in time.

Subj: Acyclovir: long term effects?
Date: 4/14/2009
I have been taking 800 mg daily for 5 years and have always had rashes/hives. I would like to know the severity of the rash symptoms that your guests have commented about and how can I find out more? What active ingredient in the acyclovir would be causing the rash so I do not expose myself to another?

AskDocWeb: You can get more information from your local pharmacist but if you haven't discussed the rash with your doctor, we encourage you to do that. For some people the rash may be a minor side effect but for others it may indicate an allergic reaction so talk to your doctor.

Subj: Thanks Acyclovir
Date: 4/15/2009
I have been using Acyclovir 400mg per day for 25 years. Now that I'm 47, I get an annual blood test, and still great results. Thanks Acyclovir for suppressing this terrible disease! Even with my daily dose, I still get maybe one or two minor outbreaks a year. Then I increase the dosage for a couple days, and all is well.

Subj: Labytinthitis?
Date: 4/19/2009
I have been taking Acyclovir 800 for almost a year. It was prescribed because I have bouts of labytinthitis. It is not helping. I have seen nothing in my research on-line about taking this for labyrinthitis. Do you know if this should be prescribed for this condition?

AskDocWeb: In cases where the infection is caused by virus yes, Acyclovir might be prescribed. Labyrinthitis is a balance disorder caused by an inflammation of the vestibular system (which sense changes in head position) of the inner ear. The inflammation may be caused by a virus, bacteria, head injury, extreme stress, allergy or as a reaction to a particular medicine.

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