Feedback on Acyclovir Side Effects and Usage, page 13

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: Chickenpox
Date: 3/20/2007
I heard that by taking acyclovir for chickenpox, chance of a second attack is much higher than normal conditions(without medicine). Is it true?


AskDocWeb: No.

Subj: Shocking and very upsetting
Date: 3/20/2007
At 49, I was diagnosed with HS2 six weeks ago. It was shocking and very upsetting at the time, however, I now see it as a blessing–in that it made me change my risky sexual behavior BEFORE I got HIV/AIDs. It also gave me courage to resist men who only wanted physical gratification. I now only attract quality, so that is why I say it is a blessing.

For the initial outbreak I was prescribed Acyclovir 400mg 5 times a day for 10 days. It cleared up the infection within a week. Since the first year after infection is known for frequent outbreaks, I did not become alarmed when I had a second outbrseak two weeks after clearing up the initial infection. I am now taking acyclovir 400 mg five times a day for only 5 days. The second outbreak is NOTHING as bad as the initial.

One of the side effects with the Acyclovir for me is the tiredness/sleepiness. It is ALL I could do to work until 6 PM., Drive home and go to bed at 7 PM, only to sleep until morning. But hey, my body needed the time to rest and heal itself, so I accept it as part of the healing. The thirstiness and dehydration are also VERY REAL and require you do dramatically increase your liquids, which could be a good thing. Good Luck All!


Subj: Shingles contagious?
Date: 3/21/2007
Years ago, I had a serious outbreak of cold sores for over a month. The first doctor I saw had exacerbated the problem by prescribing a steroid. I now have another outbreak and I am using the med again. The condition seemed to worsen with the 400mg doses. My doctor now has me on 800mg. My husband was diagnosed with shingles and was taking Famvir. Is shingles contagious and should he be on the same medication?


AskDocWeb: Your doctor has a choice of medications to treat shingles, could be Famvir, Valtrex, Acyclovir or Zovirax. You don’t have to worry about contagion because you can’t get shingles from someone who has it. Only people who have had chicken pox can get shingles. A shingles (Herpes Zoster) outbreak is caused by reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (chicken pox) when the immune system is weakened by fatigue, disease or advanced age.

Shingles is a contagious disease. The blisters that arise with shingles contain the Herpes simplex virus in their fluid. A person who has never had the chicken pox (or the vaccine for it) that comes into direct contact with the fluid can develop chicken pox.

Subj: Erratic mood swings
Date: 3/28/2007
I have been experiencing erratic mood swings since taking this medication. Is this common?


AskDocWeb: From 5% to 7% of users (depending on dosage) report depression while taking Acyclovir.

Subj: Acyclovir for Shingles
Date: 3/29/2007
Am taking acyclovir for Shingles –[800 mg] makes feel SICKISH!


AskDocWeb: Talk to your doctor and see if he will decrease your med a little, then maybe build up slowly. If it still makes you ill, you may just have to put up with it until your shingles are gone.

Subj: Acyclovir and CPK levels
Date: 4/1/2007
Does Acyclovir ever raise CPK levels?


AskDocWeb: We found only one reference to an increased CPK level (Creatine Phosphokinase Level) with Acyclovir. It involved a patient with HIV who was taking Acyclovir and Tenofovir at the same time. It is not clear which drug caused the rise in CPK. Tenofovir is the most recent nucleoside analogue to have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV-infected patients and it’s affect on CPK is still an unknown.

A CPK blood test measures creatine phosphokinase, an enzyme found predominantly in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscles. Determining which isoenzyme (specific form of CPK) is elevated helps determine which tissue has been damaged. When a muscle is damaged, CPK leaks into the bloodstream and the CPK level rises.

Higher than normal total CPK levels may also be seen with the following conditions:

  • Central nervous system trauma
  • Convulsions
  • Delirium tremens
  • Dermatomyositis or polymyositis
  • Electric shock
  • Heart attack
  • Muscular dystrophies
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
  • Pulmonary infarction (lung tissue death)
  • Stroke

Subj: Face rash?
Date: 4/3/2007
Can acyclovir cause a face rash?


AskDocWeb: A rash just on the face is unlikely. If you were allergic to it, you would have raised hives all over or just extreme itching and burning. It is possible that you are sensitive to a new facial product or soap, just a thought. Also there is a new facial rash reported to be on the rise. It’s a red, often itchy rash called mobile phone dermatitis. Studies reveal that it is caused by the nickel covering on cell phones. It seems that some people have an allergic reaction to this metal.

Subj: Immune system compromises?
Date: 4/8/2007
Does acyclovir or herpes cause any immune system compromises? I’ve had a couple of flu like periods.


AskDocWeb: Acyclovir supports your immune system. Herpes outbreaks occur when your immune system is compromised. If your immune system remained at full strength you would not have an outbreak.

Subj: Acyclovir and menstrual cycle
Date: 4/15/2007
I have been having cold sore breakouts due to stress. My doctor has prescribed Acyclovir. ( 200 mg 3 x a day) Can this affect the female menstrual cycle? I had heavy bleeding and clotting while taking this. Also the vaginal area seems very irritated.


AskDocWeb: Yes, this has been reported by others but not enough to tell how widespread.

Subj: Sudden severe outbreak
Date: 4/22/2007
I contracted genital herpes in the 60s, but hadn’t had an outbreak in decades, since I learned to apply ice when I felt prodromal. Last year, after moving to a new area, I had a sudden severe outbreak and was given acyclovir (oral and ointment). Over two weeks ago, I thought I was prodromal and began taking it again. I took it for the full ten days–which ended a week ago–and, while I never developed obvious lesions, the inflammation has not resolved. Two days after I stopped the medication, I developed pain in my bladder as well. My FNP sees no signs of herpes, just “sores,” and I test negative for a bladder infection. Could what is happening be a side effect? (I intend to use ice the next time I fee prodromal!)


AskDocWeb: Moving to a new area is stressful, which can lead to an outbreak. Even so, you need to have these “sores” cultured so find out exactly what they are, and your doctor can do that.

Subj: When to take Acyclovir
Date: 4/26/2007
I had taken Acyclovir for 9 months for genital and oral herpes. Since my outbreaks stopped, I went off the pills for the passed 3 months. I am feeling a tingling in the inside of my lip and think it may be the onset of a herpes sore… I started taking acyclovir 2x a day again in hopes to stop or shorten this onset case.. My question is: Is it better to stay on the pills for years, or take them when you think you are experiencing the onset of a herpes episode?


AskDocWeb: That varies with the person. Some people can take them when that tingling sensation indicates the beginning of a herpes episode, others need a daily suppressive therapy. You’ll have to talk to your doctor about which one would be better for you.

Subj: Decreased sex drive
Date: 5/13/2007
I have been taking acyclovir daily for ~1 year. However, during that year I have noticed a decreased sex drive. Could the acyclovir have anything to do with this?


AskDocWeb: Not likely, but that’s not to say it can not happen.

Subj: Acyclovir for chicken pox
Date: 5/24/2007
My 11 year-old daughter got chicken pox and the doctor prescribed Acyclovir 800mg every 6 hours for 5 days. I stopped giving her after the fourth day since I noticed that she had falling hairs. Is this a side effect of that drug? Was the prescription by the doctor correct in giving 800 mg every 6 hours for 5 days for an 11-year old child? Please give me your advice the soonest. Thanks a lot.


AskDocWeb: For a second opinion you would need to take your daughter to another doctor so that her weight and current physical condition can be taken into account. We can tell you that the maximum dosage for an adult is 4000 mg a day (4 grams).

Subj: Skin on legs turning transparent
Date: 5/29/2007
Hello, I am experiencing a strange symptom, I am not sure if it is caused by some medication I am taking or from work conditions…or something else??? Over the past six months the skin on my legs seem to be turning transparent – I can see every vain running through my legs, it really does look like I have little blue rivers right up and down my legs. It is scaring me, not just because it looks terrible but because something might really be wrong. I can see both the thick blue veins and little purple ones. They seem to be right at my skins surface. I know this can happen with age but I am only 25 years old. I am a cashier and have to stand for long hours everyday and think that may be a cause (do to circulation). I am taking acycolver for coldsore outbreaks and ortho-tricyclo for birthcontrol. Could it be medication? I am not sure? Any ideas??


AskDocWeb: There’s nothing that would indicate it’s from the medication. What you describe may be varicose veins. When these blood vessels become enlarged they are much more visible and unfortunately that becomes worse at certain times during the menstrual cycle. Please have your doctor take a look to see if it needs treatment.

Subj: Allergic to shellfish
Date: 5/31/2007
I am allergic to shellfish (iodine in shellfish) and wanted to make sure this would not interfere with me taking acyclovir. Thanks


AskDocWeb: There is no iodine in Acyclovir so go ahead an take the med as directed by your physician.

Subj: Negative effects of Acyclovir?
Date: 6/2/2007
If one does NOT need acyclovir and takes it 3x day for 7 days, what negative effect can it have in short and long term? My left ear showed signs of feeling blocked and decreased hearing. A constant loud hum or buzzing too. Along with a left side of head/face tightness or tenderness. DR thought it might be #8 hearing/facial nerve. Prescribed Prednisone (14 day) and Acyclovir (7) things were much better at 14 days except for a livable constant high pitch ringing. At 21-28 days the fullness etc started coming back. At 35 days I tried the Pred again for 14 days without the acyclovir and it seemed to help but with decreasing strength, the symptoms started coming back. Now at 56 days I plan to try only the acyclovir for 7 days. Hence the question above.


AskDocWeb: About 15% of users experience nausea, 14% have headaches, 6% have vomiting, 3% have dizziness, and 3% have abdominal pain. We suggest you see an ear, nose and throat specialist.

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