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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: Cold sores in diabetic 6 year old
My grandson is a diabetic. This past six months he has developed herpes on the lips. He has been having outbreaks every two weeks. Nothing over the counter has helped. We spoke with his pediatrician but she was reluctant to prescribe meds. His endocrinologist stated that he could not order anything because he is a specialist but he felt the side effects were too severe to take the meds. He specific was concerned about cornel damage. This child is only 6 and the cold sores spread all over his lips and chins. What do you hear about this?

AskDocWeb: No one should be suffering from cold sores every two weeks. This sounds like you need a specialist. We suggest you take your child to a pediatric dermatologist.

Subj: Pills or liquid?
Date: 9/5/2005
I have been taking the acyclovir solution and also using the zovirax cream on my bottom. I have colorectal cancer and evidently somehow contracted herpes 1...not sexually, but evidently at the hospital. It is on my face near the mouth and also on the bottom of my back. I am having a lot of diarrhea from it, which is hard to control with a colostomy. Would using the pills be better, cause less side effects than the liquid oral solution?

AskDocWeb: You had better direct this question to your physician. Both the liquid and pill form should work the same.

Subj: Acyclovir
Date: 9/9/2005
I am so glad I found your web page! I have been taking acyclovir 800 mg 5x/day for a shingles outbreak on the side of my face. I experienced an extreme amount of dizziness, nausea, fatigue, memory problems, confusion and contact lens irritation. I thought all of this was due to the shingles and not the acyclovir until my boyfriend suggested I look up info on the web about this drug (the computer was down at the pharmacy where I got the prescription so they weren't able to give me the printout of side effects, and the only posting on the side of the bottle is 'take with food').

The lesions have healed on my face and so I stopped taking the meds yesterday when I began to suspect the acyclovir might have been causing these problems. Is it possible I might get a recurrence of the shingles because I discontinued the meds two days early?

AskDocWeb: Yes your shingles may return, but discuss with your physician what happened to you so that when and if the shingles return he will not prescribe it again. And make sure it's marked on your chart.

Subj: Acyclovir side effect?
Date: 9/11/2005
I started taking Acyclovir for the first time two days ago for what appears to be a primary herpes outbreak. It is not confirmed yet, although being treated as such. It seems to be helping with the pain of the sores, however I am getting a lot of muscle pain in my legs, a great deal of fatigue, as well as tingling. The tingling seems also to be in the mouth and chest area. It's weird. Can I assume this is the virus or is it possibly the medicine. I am taking 800 mg 4 times a day. I have not found any information on the web indicating tingling in these areas which is why I am concerned.

AskDocWeb: It's a side effect of the Acyclovir. Talk to your physician about an alternative medication.

Subj: Very weak
Date: 9/19/2005
I got to the point where I was very weak and tired all the time. Had blood work done and the Dr. said I had an infection in my system. Just wait it out. I didn't get any better so I called and asked if he could give me something for it. His nurse told me I had mono and got a pill for me to take 4 times a day for 8 days. I looked it up on the internet just now and it says its for herpes. I am upset at this. Does this help mono? I can't find where it does.

AskDocWeb: Wow, were you ever misinformed! A mono test is done in the office at the time of your visit. The results are available within 5 minutes but there are no pills you take for mono, just rest. For a doctor to prescribe Acyclovir for mono doesn't make sense. There is role for antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir in treating mono. We suggest you make an appointment and speak directly with your physician face to face. Find out what in the world he his thinking. Did he do a test for herpes?

Subj: All natural cure for shingles?
Date: 9/26/2005
Just wondering if Zynoxin(supposedly an all natural anti-viral for shingles) is helpful for genital herpes? The testaments on the web make it sound like a miracle cure for shingles.

AskDocWeb: Some things are too good to be true and that seems to be one of them. Don't believe everything you have read. There is no cure for shingles. Unfortunately, as concern grows about the bird flu you are likely to see a lot more scams about antiviral cures.

Subj: Change dosage to prevent diarrhea?
Date: 9/29/2005
I am on 800 mg Acyclovir qid for 5 days for primary herpetic gingivostomatitis of the mouth. I am a Celiac and checked with Pharmacist and found this is gluten free. The dosage is causing diarrhea and I wondered if reducing the dosage to 400 qid would be a good alternative to prevent diarrhea.

AskDocWeb: Not necessarily, even 200 mgs can cause diarrhea. Sounds like you need to discuss this with your doctor.

Subj: Dizzy spell
Date: 10/13/2004
What are some side effects that can happen in the last trimester of pregnancy? I have just started taking it and I am 35 weeks. I have had nausea after my second dose and a dizzy spell which almost led to me fainting after the third dose. All three times I have taken it with food. Should I stop taking it?

AskDocWeb: Sounds like you should call your health care provider right now and tell them about this.

Subj: Donate blood?
Date: 10/14/2004
I have been using Acyclovir for about three or four months daily for Herpes type 2 and will continue to. Can I safely donate blood or give blood without passing it on to the recipient? I know Acyclovir doesn't cure Herpes, but can I give blood regardless?

AskDocWeb: According to the American Red Cross, yes, "Wait 12 months after treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea. Acceptable if it has been more than 12 months since you completed treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea. Chlamydia, venereal warts (human papilloma virus), or genital herpes are not a cause for deferral if you are feeling healthy and well and meet all other eligibility requirements."

Subj: Severe acne
Date: 10/18/2004
I have had severe acne outbreaks on my forehead and on my cheeks starting from about the time I switched to a daily (400mg) prophylactic treatment of acyclovir (to prevent genital herpes outbreaks)3 months ago. Prior to that I was taking Valtrex, 1gram daily. Is it possible that acyclovir could be causing the acne? Some pimples are large and red, others are smaller with white heads.

AskDocWeb: Yes, it is possible. You should immediately report this to your doctor. You may also want to seek help from a dermatologist before you have permanent scarring on your face.

Subj: Herpes outbreaks
Date: 11/11/2005
I found out in September 2005 that I have genital herpes. I had been having recurring outbreaks every month since January 2005, but did not know that it was herpes. I have started suppression therapy with acyclovir 400mg twice daily.

What happens after the two year therapy is completed? Will I still get outbreaks? I think I contracted the virus from my ex. I slept with him once since I was diagnosed, how will having sex with someone who is possibly infected affect the therapy? Thank you,

AskDocWeb: You can still get outbreaks after two years of therapy. The therapy is to gain some degree of control over your situation. It is not a cure. The man should use condoms if he is having an outbreak.

Subj: Dark urine
Date: 11/12/2005
I have just started taking Acyclovir (400mg, 3x/day) for the first time for what may be Herpes 2 (lab tests aren't back). I've noticed that since I started on it my urine has been darker. Is this a known side effect of the medication?

AskDocWeb: You had better have your urine checked out at your physicians office. Kidney dysfunction is one of the possible side effects of acyclovir. In the mean time, drink more water.

Subj: Erection difficulty
Date: 11/16/2005
I have genital herpes and have been prescribed 800 mg of acyclovir 1 time per day to prevent outbreaks. Since taking this medication I have noticed that I have been having a difficult time having and maintaining an erection. Could this be a side effect of the acyclovir or is this most likely being caused by something else?

AskDocWeb: It is not a reported side effect. Most likely something else is causing the ED.

Subj: Peripheral neuropathy
Date: 11/20/2005
Like Dan on 7/17/04 and Lee Ann on 8/20/03, I am interested in Peripheral neuropathy. This may not be a large trend, but it is a recurring one. Where can we find out more information on this?

AskDocWeb: Acyclovir page. The primary risk factor of peripheral neuropathy is hyperglycemia and glycemic control is the key to adequate treatment. The first signs of this problem are numbness, tingling, and/or a burning pain in the hands and/or feet. There are several kinds of peripheral neuropathy. Searching on one of the following types of neuropathy may be helpful.

1. It is a common problem among diabetics. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can cause significant morbidity and mortality. About 30% of hospitalized and 20% of non-hospitalized diabetes patients have peripheral neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy can be managed symptomatically with an array of drugs.

2. Sensorimotor Cardiac autonomic neuropathy can contribute to myocardial infarction, malignant arrhythmia, and sudden death.

3. The most debilitating complication of gastrointestinal autonomic neuropathy Gastroparesis. It can be treated with metoclopramide or erythromycin.

4. Genitourinary autonomic neuropathy can cause sexual dysfunction and bladder problems.

The current clinical trials suggest the following drugs may be of help in symptom management;
  • Desipramine
  • Amitriptyline
  • Capsaicin
  • Tramadol
  • Gabapentin
  • Bupropion
  • Venlafaxine
  • Citalopram
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Opioid analgesics
  • Lamotrigine
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Paroxetine
  • Levodopa
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Fludrocortisone
  • Clonidine
  • Midodrine
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Caffeine
  • Octreotide
  • Beta-blockers
The most promising disease-modifying therapy is ruboxistaurin.

Note that Acyclovir is used to treat the peripheral neuropathy that is sometimes caused by herpes infections.

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