Feedback on Acyclovir Side Effects and Usage, page 18

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: Infected eczema?
Date: 12/25/2007
Can this drug (Acyclovir) be used to treat infected eczema? Does it affect the immune system?


AskDocWeb: The most common cause of infection in eczema is a bacterium known as Staphylococcus aureus. Acyclovir does not affect bacterium but instead is used to treat a specific kind of viral infection. Because there are several types of eczema, you should consult with your doctor to determine the best treatment option for you. The following are some of the treatment options for eczema:

  • Oral antibiotics may be used for infected eczema. Skin infections are indicated if white or yellow pus oozes from the affected site.
  • Moisturizers are recommended for all types of eczema because they hydrate the skin. It is recommended that the moisturizer be applied liberally to the affected area.
  • Topical steroids are often used in addition to moisturizers if the eczema does not improve and the affected area becomes severely irritated and swollen.
  • Oral antihistamines are often used to reduce the itching associated with eczema. Newer antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claritin, Alavert) and fexofenadine (Allegra), do not appear to be as effective in controlling itching as older antihistamines such as hydroxyzine (Atarax) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) which causes more drowsiness.
  • Phototherapy (ultraviolet A or B light therapy) may be used when all other avenues of topical and oral treatments have been exhausted. Phototherapy works by controlling cells in the skin that allow skin cell development. By controlling the rate at which skin cells develop, it is possible to control the scaling and sloughing of skin that is associated with eczema.
  • Oral steroids are generally reserved for eczema that is resistant to all other treatments because this class of drugs is much more likely to cause side effects.
  • Topical immunosuppressants such as pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic) have been shown to be extremely effective in the treatment of eczema. By controlling how the immune system reacts to potential irritants and triggers, immunosuppressants are able to clear the affected area and provide relief from itching. However, until further studies have been conducted to identify any potential long-term effects, they should be considered a treatment of last resort.

Subj: Chronic fatigue
Date: 12/25/2007
My doctor recently put me on this for chronic fatigue. Does this help? She states it’s in the herpes family and epstein barr virus this will help. Any info on this study?


AskDocWeb: Not yet Steve, when we find out it will be published here.

Subj: Acyclovir with Cardizem Cd?
Date: 12/26/2007
I been taking acyclovir for five years. I recently had a high heart rate. Now I am taking Cardizem Cd for the heart rate does this conflict with acyclovir?


AskDocWeb: There is no conflict listed between Acyclovir and Cardizem Cd (PDR) but you may want to watch your diet while on Cardizem Cd (Diltiazem Hydrochloride). Taking Cardizem Cd with food may result in an increased amount of diltiazem reaching your blood. Using Cardizem Cd and eating food is not recommended. Taking it with grapefruit juice may also cause problems with your heart. Using Cardizem Cd and drinking grapefruit juice is not recommended. If you are already using diltiazem and drinking grapefruit juice, call your doctor if you have pain or discomfort in your chest, feel short of breath, have unusual heartbeats, feel dizzy, lightheaded, or very weak. Do not stop using this medicine without talking to your doctor first.

Subj: Expensive pills
Date: 12/31/2007
I take acyclovir for shingles…just started today …they are really expensive pills.


Subj: Zovirax tablets
Date: 1/2/2008
Hi, I often get coldsores around my nose and mouth and my doctor prescribed zovirax tablets (200mg)to try and suppress the number of outbreaks. Just wondering if taking this will reduce the effects of the birth control pill.


AskDocWeb: No, they will not affect the effectiveness of your birth control pills.

Subj: Heart palpitations
Date: 1/6/2008
I have been on acyclovir since 1995. At the beginning I only took it only when I felt an outbreak coming on but now for the last three years I take one pill every day 400mg. Sometimes I alternate with just taking 200mg per day. I have had only one outbreak in 3 years. I am very pleased with the suppression of the virus. Just recently I started noticing heart palpitations. No other side effects. Does this mean I need to stop taking it? How long can you be on this medication? I am 55 years old in good health. Also I am about to have surgery on my face with lazor treatment. I know that they prescribe acyclovir for cold sore outbreaks. Do I need to stop my doses of acyclovir for surgery?


AskDocWeb: Patients can be on this med for a long time. Tell your physician about the heart palpitations, he may want to do a 48 hour halter monitor test to make sure there is nothing else going on.

Subj: The alternative is more dangerous
Date: 1/9/2008
I have had Herpes on my legs and buttocks all my life, since I was a small child, and have been taking Acyclovir for the past 5 years. I started taking Acyclovir because I was having serious attacks, which were making me very ill, with a high fever, and almost developing into meningitis. I have not had an outbreak since I started taking the Acyclovir. For the past 3 years I have had numb and swollen legs and feet, hair loss, leg pain, and insomnia. When I discussed my side-effects with my doctor, he told me that I should weigh the advantages and disadvantages, and his advice was to keep taking the Acyclovir because the alternative is more dangerous. I have been taking 400 mg. twice a day. Would the Acyclovir continue to work if I cut the dosage down to 200 mg. twice a day? If it would work, would this help minimize the side-effects?


AskDocWeb: Being able to cut down on the dosage depends on the severity of your condition. Whether or not it would work in your case is something you would need to discuss with your doctor.

Subj: Children on Acyclovir?
Date: 1/9/2008
My 33 month old daughter has been on daily acyclovir treatment for almost 7 months. Has there been any negative findings in regards to children being on acyclovir long term and is it a common prescription for children with more severe outbreaks?


AskDocWeb: Although rare, some children have a higher risk of developing complications from chickenpox and may need extra treatment with Acyclovir. The side effects in children are similar to that of adults. We found no negative long-term affects published.

Subj: Diabetic using antibiotics
Date: 1/10/2008
I have gathered good information from your section on false positives. My husband tested + for cocaine, he had not used, but he is diabetic and was using antibiotics. Can you help me with information to challenge the test.


AskDocWeb: Your first challenge should be a GC/MS confirmation test to clear up any false positives or lab mistakes. For more information check our reference page.

Subj: Cold/flu
Date: 1/11/2008
I take acyclovir when I am feeling symptoms of a cold/flu. I was a cancer patient and was given this drug to prevent virus from occurring. I noticed when I do take this I do not get the full expression of a cold. I have fear of a cold because if I do come down with it, it spreads to chest and I end up with severe breathing problems. Is it dangerous for me to take this drug? And how about if I only take one pill of 250mg?


AskDocWeb: Consult with your physician on whether or not he needs to have you continue. Acyclovir is prescribed to treat the herpes virus and has not been noted to influence a cold or flu virus.

Subj: Planning to get pregnant
Date: 1/13/2008
I’m currently taking Acyclovir for genital herpes. I’m planning to get pregnant soon. Should I stop taking the medication now and then start again in my third trimester to prevent infecting the baby.


AskDocWeb: That is something that you will need to discuss with your doctor, it depends on your condition.

Subj: Non-complicated herpes simplex?
Date: 1/15/2008
I have gotten hold of some acyclovir tabs (400mg) and suffer from herpes simplex on and around my mouth. I get about 2-3 a year and sometimes have 1-2month episodes where I get one after the other for this time. Would you recommend someone with normal, non-complicated herpes simplex to use acyclovir tabs + explain why/why not. Thank you,


AskDocWeb: No, that would be a job for your doctor. Acyclovir is a prescription drug and even though you have “gotten hold of some” it is illegal for you take it without a prescription. We do encourage you to see your doctor because if you have herpes simplex acyclovir can reduce the number of outbreaks, make the breakouts you do have less serious, and reduce healing time.

Subj: Numbness/tingling
Date: 1/16/2008
My son is taking acyclovir for a tentative diagnosis of Bells Palsy. He is having intermittent numbness and tingling in his right arm, the same side as the facial paralysis. He has had a CAT scan but not an MRI to rule out other problems. Is the arm numbness/tingling a side effect of this drug?


AskDocWeb: A few people have reported numbness while taking Acyclovir but in the 2008 Physician’s Desk Reference, it is not listed as a side effect.

Subj: Shingles
Date: 1/19/2008
I’ve been taking acyclovir for my first shingles outbreak (on my face, above my eye, extending up into my scalp). I have been taking 800 mg 5x/day for the past 6 days. The outbreak has been quite mild. The only side effect has been diarrhea–a little debilitating at times. I’ve had a conflicting feedback about how long I should take the drug: 5 days, 7 days, 10 days. My eye is not involved. I might be immunosuppressive due to chemo in the recent past.


Subj: Canker sore
Date: 1/24/2008
My daughter, who is away at college, was prescribed this medication for a canker sore. She developed a doozy of a canker beside a bite sore she incurred while eating. I’m a little alarmed because I have not read anything about it treating canker sores. I don’t want her taking unnecessary meds…


Subj: Acyclovir Valtrex
Date: 1/25/2008
I am being treated for shingles of the eye. I had one 10day round of the Antiviral, Acyclovir – generic form. Two days later my eye started to itch, and become inflamed and swollen. The Ophthalmologist then put me on Lotromax drops qid. Today, he was not satisfied after a week on the drops and added a second round of anti-viral. This time ordering Valtrex. It appears to be very expensive while the generic Acyclovir was not. I have three refills on this drup. Is there a significant difference from the Valtrex? Thank you.


AskDocWeb: There does seem to be a difference in the way people respond to the two drugs although they are both derived from the same base.

Subj: Serious indigestion and acid reflux
Date: 1/28/2008
I have been taking acyclovir 400 mg 3x daily for a serious inner ear infection the ENT prescribed for me. I always took this with food. I have 3 more days left of the medicine and I don’t think I can continue taking this. It seems as though the acids in my stomach are out of whack. I am experiencing some serious indigestion and acid reflux. I was on steroids to also help get me better. I am not sure which of the two made the situation.


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