Feedback on Acyclovir Side Effects and Usage, page 14

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: HSV 1 or HSV 2
Date: 6/3/2007
I have recently been diagnosed with HSV. I was informed by a partner that had an outbreak and I had a blood test that confirms the presence of the virus. I do not know if I have HSV 1 or HSV 2. I have never had any lesions, sores, or any type of symptoms of the virus. My doctor prescribed a 400 mg dose acyclovir twice a day as a suppressive treatment. I have been taking this dose for 3 weeks now. After 2 weeks of this treatment I have had discomfort with burning lips. I have read all of the posts on the subject of acyclovir and noticed there are two entries on sore, irritated, and burning lips. Is this a possible reaction to acyclovir? Could this be an outbreak of the HSV 1 virus? Will a change to valtrex prevent these problems? Is valtrex as effective as acyclovir? Are other effective drugs available?


AskDocWeb: You would need a blood test to find out if it’s HSV 1 or 2. The sore, irritated, and burning lips are not listed as reactions to Acyclovir but rather are indications of an oncoming outbreak, which may or may not materialize. Acyclovir, Valtrex and Zovirax are all brand names for the drug valacyclovir hydrochloride.

Subj: On Acyclovir for 15 years
Date: 6/7/2007
I have been Acyclovir for 15 years, I got genital herpes when I was 21 years old. It has been a hard journey on my “Central Nervous System” I have found Acyclovir as the only relief to preventing actual out breaks to the enormous “nervous System” side effects of herpes I suffer. Insomnia, anxiety, I feel the virus active in my blood stream first, more than I ever suffer breakouts. It has been my life line of sanity, really I don’t know where I would be without it, I take up to 1,200mg’s a day when I feel the onset of the virus coming on, usually in times of stress, menstruation, catching a cold. I must make the comment thought that herpes does effect you more than just physical outbreaks it can and does effect your central nervous system.

Elizabeth Los Angeles, California

Subj: Questions about Acyclovir
Date: 6/13/2007
I am a 41 year old white female who has had herpes simplex (cold sores) since childhood. Outbreaks have been more frequent and symptoms (i.e. flu like, fatigue, swelling of face, thudding in ear, bell’s palsy, fever, achy, irritability, muddled thinking, etc.) more severe over the last several years. I began episodic treatment with Acyclovir for about a year now. The suppressive treatment seems to work the same but gives me migraines. Acyclovir seems to help suppress my actual cold sore outbreaks now, which is great, but I still continue to suffer the other related symptoms. I have also recently been dx with cervical ca in situ, due to the HPV virus I contracted about 20 years ago. My questions are these: 1. Can acyclovir help reduce my viral load, helping suppress the HPV virus? 2. Could the HPV virus be lowering my immunity so that the herpes virus is getting more prevalent? Or vice versa? 3. Can acyclovir help with the inflammation that is obviously happening in the gangelion near my ears to cause my facial swelling, ear thudding noises and bell’s palsy? 4. Is this medication dangerous while taking thyroid medication which I just recently started? Thank you in advance for your answers and excellent site. Sincerely,


AskDocWeb: 1. Yes, Acyclovir will help reduce your viral load. 2 is unknown. 3, if the inflammation is the result of the herpes virus then Acyclovir should help. 4. Any prescription drug can be dangerous, that’s why you can only get them by prescription. You’ll have to ask your doctor if it would be safe in your case.

Subj: STD and Acyclovir
Date: 6/13/2007
My partner is infected with the sexually transmitted version of herpes. I was wondering if Acyclovir may be used as a preventative measure to avoid contracting the disease during sexual contact. Thanks so much.


AskDocWeb: It may reduce your chance of contracting herpes but doesn’t prevent it. Since you can contact it any time he should always use a condom.

Subj: Abdominal pain
Date: 6/16/2007
Acyclovir does work for me but lately, even though I take it with milk and food my upper abdomen has hurt. Today is hurt so bad. I took Mylanta and had something to eat and it has now eased. Would I be less susceptible to outbreaks with I took 400 mg twice a day for the rest of my life? Would that cause stomach problems? Thank you for your wisdom.


AskDocWeb: The appropriate dosage for you can change over time. Please talk this over with your physician to find out what would work best for you.

Subj: Libido has diminished
Date: 6/17/2007
My wife and I have been on acyclovir for about 3 months for genital herpes. Since we started taking this medication my wife libido has diminished. We used to intercourse at least every other day sometimes twice a day. I have tried everything to get her in the mood but nothing seems to work. She just bluntly says no sex tonight. Is this a side effect of this medication or is something else wrong.


AskDocWeb: The drug doesn’t cause this problem but just having herpes does affect people psychologically. You might sit down and talk it over with her gently to find out what gets in the way of enjoying sex like she did before getting herpes. It may or may not have anything to do with the disease or the drug.

Subj: Acyclovir everyday
Date: 6/17/2007
I have been taking Acyclovir everyday for the past two years, I have never had any side effects. Taking it everyday stops me from having outbreaks in general. I am so thankful for my doctor prescribing it for me.


Subj: HSV and EM
Date: 6/21/2007
I had HSV since the age of 15 years old with only labial sores once a year. Now I am 27 years and for the last year I had an eruption every 4 months followed by EM. Topical cream of acyclovir at the beginning of a labial sore speeds up the healing process, approx. by half. Apply as recommended, using medicated beeswax between intervals helps to keep lips moist thus preventing cracking and any bleeding – a blood cloth won’t form. Regarding Acyclovir pills I am taking 400mg 5 times daily, hope this would ‘control’ my onset of EM after the labial sore healed. Question? If EM is triggered or has a conjunction to HSV, what is the “chemical” that disrupts the immune system causing such an allergic reaction to occur? Does the AA L-Lysine help?


AskDocWeb: First let’s define what we’re talking about: EM (Erythema Multiforme) is an allergic reaction (condition) marked by a skin rash and/or rash on mucous membranes. The rash can take a variety of sizes and shapes (multiforme) that include pimples, blisters, nodules, and bull’s-eye shaped areas. EM can occur with infections, collagen diseases, allergies, drug reactions, and pregnancy. A severe form of EM is known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

A number of things can disrupt the immune system resulting in EM. Persistent EM can be regarded as the result of a continuous incitement by different antigenic materials such as the Epstein-Barr virus infection, underlying malignancy, and chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

The difficulties in EM therapy come from our poor knowledge of the factors involved in the development of this disease. In classic and recurrent EM, the relationship with HSV infection has been well documented, and HSV is now accepted as the most common precipitating factor. Schofield et al. has reported a definitive relationship between HSV infection (usually labial) and recurrent EM in 71% of patients.

Treatment of EM has a long ways to go in its development as the current treatment is discouraging. Several therapies including acyclovir, colchicine, anti-malarials, dapsone, azathioprine, levamisole, cimetidine, potassium iodide, and cyclosporine have been tried to avoid lesion appearance, but results are inconstant. L-Lysine has been reported to help but Acyclovir was found to be the most useful first-line treatment, with 55% of patients deriving benefit from continuous oral acyclovir. Generally, patients with HSV-associated EM respond better to a continuous oral acyclovir regimen than a short-course regimen.

Lysine does help some but note that there are a few health concerns with using it.

Subj: Memory loss and constant headache
Date: 7/4/2007
Taking Acyclovir for about 2 years for HSV1& HSV2, I am experiencing memory loss since getting herpes in 2002. I have been having constant headache, some times for 1 week. What is really happening to me?


AskDocWeb: You may need to consult with a neurologist to find out what is happening.

Subj: Shingles on eyelid
Date: 7/5/2007
I had scabs and swelling on my left eyelid diagnosed as shingles and was prescribed 800mg Acyclovir 5x per day. The sores on my eyelid were mild and were gone in 4 days, but I had moderate diarrhea, headache, mild nausea, some mild disorientation and a metallic taste in my mouth. Felt like a lot like moderate flu symptoms including chills. I am a 250 pound 6’6″ man and I have to say this is a pretty strong medication! But it does do the trick.


Subj: Keep a prescription on hand
Date: 7/6/2007
I’m a 42 year old male that contracted HSV2 in my early twenties. I immediately went to a university hospital where the sores were cultured and confirmed. Zovirax was experimental at that time but I was included in the study group. My life was hectic then, I wasn’t taking very good care of myself and I had several overlapping outbreaks in the first years. Subsequent administration of acyclovir helped reduce the severity and duration of out breaks such that by the time I was in my late twenties episodes were fewer and farther between.

By my 30’s, I’d almost forgotten I had the virus. I’ve had a few long-term relationships since those early days and I’m happy to report that by being safe and aware none of my mates ever tested positive for the virus. So here I am at 42 one year after a divorce and cramming to complete a project with many late nights working. A dull pain started behind my right knee, which I attributed to my sports activities. Next I started getting radiating, pulsating nerve sensations from my low back to the top of my foot but not the usual pins/needles or darting nerve pain I had in years past. I thought, for sure, I must have pinched a nerve. Then, one afternoon while working in a pair of shorts, I happened to touch the back of my knee and felt some bumps. Sure enough, there were fresh lesions. Thankfully, the virus once again tracked different nerve endings than those to the genitals. I’ve always kept a prescription around, just in case, so I started taking it right away. But, it shows that even in good times and in otherwise good health, one should never forget to be aware and conscious of the fact that it may take a different track or present with varying symptoms and sensations. If you’ve ever had it, keep a prescription on hand that you take at the first obvious signs if not the ones you’re already familiar with. Be well!


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