Feedback on Acyclovir Side Effects and Usage, page 22

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: Lower back pain
Date: 9/20/2008
I have HSV 2 and am prescribed acyclovir. I’ve been taking it everyday for about a year and a half, 400mg twice a day. The doc didn’t say whether or not I should take it this way or stop taking it but when I stop the medicine I have really bad outbreaks. I also have back lower back pain every morning when I wake up. Could this be from the acyclovir?


AskDocWeb: It is possible, joint pain, called Arthralgia, affects up to six percent of users. This has been reported to occur in the back, neck, arms, legs, knees, ankles, feet, and toes.

Subj: Suppression
Date: 9/24/2008
I am on a suppression regiumn for the last 3 years. 2 x per day. What are the long term effects on the liver, kidneys and stomach over a long period of time?


AskDocWeb: While we came across several cases where Acyclovir was used for long-term care, we found nothing about complications from such long-term use, only a potential for hair loss, rash and diarrhea.

Subj: Hair loss, leg pain/cramps, and hallucinations
Date: 9/24/2008
I have been taking 400mg of Acyclovir daily for over a year to supress the HSVI that I used to get almost constantly. My symptoms were always severe including feeling feverish, severe fatigue, headache, irritability, mental fog and then, eventually the pain and embarrassment of the cold sore(s). I’d sometimes even get canker sores inside my mouth, sides of my tongue and on the roof of my mouth! OUCH! Taking the 400mg seemed to keep me from getting these symptoms, although when I’d start to get extreme fatigue and fever, I’d up my dosage. Lately, even on 1200mg daily, I still managed to get a cold sore! So my doctor increased my level to 1600mg daily to see if I feel better overall.

The problem is–even before switching to this higher dosage, my hair has been falling out by the handfuls, and I have severe leg and foot cramps. I thought this was related to my thyroid, but my entire thyroid panel has come back “perfect”. I am also a nutritionist so I know I’m getting all the right vitamins and minerals (I’ve even been taking extra potassium, magnesium with my calcium to try and relax the muscles). I am very active and exercise daily, and don’t know why my legs get so sore now, and even wake me up in the night with pain.–until I read these sometimes reported side effects on your site. Thank you.

Since my higher dosage, I am seeing things not as they are–it’s almost like a hallucination–like today I saw a man riding his bike, but at first he looked like a massive bird! Then my logic kicked in and I finally saw it for what it was. I’m doing this almost constantly. So my question is: Can my hair loss, leg pain/cramps, hallucinations be side effects, and if SO–if I stop my medications for a certain amount of time (1 week/2 weeks?) then back on a daily dosage (as needed didn’t work as well)–do you believe this would eliminate the side effects, or should I consider a new product? Thank you SO much for your informative site!


AskDocWeb: One of the symptoms of an overdose is hallucinations so be sure to tell your doctor. Some people have reported hair loss and leg pain from prolonged use.

Subj: Acne outbreak?
Date: 10/2/2008
I was prescribed aciclovir 400mg x5 per day for 5 days after an acne outbreak on chin – is it normal to prescribe this for acne as I don’t have herpes?


AskDocWeb: Some herpes outbreaks may be mistaken for acne but there is a big difference. Acne is a bacterial infection and herpes is a viral infection. Medication for a viral infection has no effect on bacteria. Likewise medication for a bacterial infection has no effect on a viral infection.

Subj: Any risk to him?
Date: 10/7/2008
I am 58 yrs. old and have had shingles 3 times since January. My doctor said I should get the Zostavak shot. My husband, 64, has never had chicken pox. Is there any risk to him if I get this shot? Should he get the shot too? Thank you,


AskDocWeb: The Center for Disease Control recommends Zostavax for all appropriate adults aged 60 and older. According to the recommendations, before administration of Zostavax, it is not necessary to ask patients about their history of varicella (chickenpox) or to conduct serologic (blood) tests for varicella immunity. If he doesn’t have any of the following counterindications then you should both talk to your doctor about getting this vaccination. Zostavax is contraindicated in persons with a history of anaphylactic reaction to gelatin, neomycin, or any other component of the vaccine; with a history of primary or acquired immunodeficiency states including leukemia; lymphomas of any type, or other malignant neoplasms affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system; or with AIDS or other clinical manifestations of infection with human immunodeficiency viruses. Zostavax is a live attenuated varicella-zoster vaccine and administration may result in disseminated disease in individuals who are immunosuppressed or on immunosuppressive therapy.

Please Note:A recent article in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (September 2008) reported a case of recurrent vaccine-strain herpes zoster in an immunocompetent 2-year-old child. The Varivax III live attenuated vaccine against varicella zoster virus (VZV) was identified through polymerase chain reaction. Their report aims to alert physicians that recurrent vaccine-strain herpes zoster can be a rare complication of VZV vaccination in apparently immunocompetent hosts.

Subj: Significant hair loss
Date: 10/10/2008
I am taking 800 mg 3 times a day. In 5 weeks my doctor said that I can reduce it to 800 mg 2 times a day. I am experiencing significant hair loss. I was told that I had to stay on the Acyclovir for the rest of my life. Because of the hair loss problem my doctor suggested Famvir. Do you know of any hair loss issues with Famvir and does it work as well as the Acyclovir?


AskDocWeb: You could experience the same with Famvir (famciclovir) but it is not as likely. Hair loss is not listed as a side effect of Famvir.

Subj: Kidney damage?
Date: 10/12/2008
I had Herpes Simplex 1. I was treated with acyclovir into my heart area. I recovered quite well, very little brain damage. However I believe I am suffering from, both central nerve infection/damage and kidney damage. I have pain all over my body. I am being treated with Lyrica finally and no pain as long as I take the meds regularly. I have difficulty with urination…feel the need to urinate and will sometimes loose control particaularly if it is cold. Most lately I find it neccessary to force the urine out. I am worried about this because I have heard that doing this can force urine back to the kidney and cause infection. Can you tell me if the acyclovir caused some kidney damage that has created this problem? Also, what to do?


AskDocWeb: We can’t say if it caused any damage or not but kidney damage (decreased urine production) is listed as one of the symptoms of an overdose of Acyclovir. Please discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible.

Subj: Side effects
Date: 10/12/2008
Does acyclovir have a side effect of cold symptoms?


AskDocWeb: Side effects that may go away during treatment include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. Some people have reported hair loss from prolonged use. Others have reported dizziness, fatigue, skin rash, anorexia, leg pain, medication taste and sore throat.

Subj: After treatment has stopped
Date: 10/13/2008
I recently took Acyclovir 200mg 5x per day for five days. After the third dose I developed shortness of breath which continued until I stopped the drug. Two days after stopping it I had a temperature and fainted (I have never fainted before and the doctors couldn’t find an underlying reason for the faint) and then the following day the shortness of breath (wheeziness) came back. Since starting Acyclovir I have felt exhausted and unwell and continue to feel that way now over a week after stopping taking it, although am slowly getting better. Is it possible that Acyclovir side effects can continue even after treatment has stopped?


AskDocWeb: It is possible for the side effects of any drug to continue for some time after discontinuing it.

Subj: Outbreaks on hands, knuckles and palms
Date: 10/17/2008
Why is it not recomended to take acyclovir at night? What happens if you do? Also, I dont take acyclovir regularly at all except when I get outbreaks, I dont get cold swores very often but lately I’ve had very intense outbreaks on my hands knuckles and palms, is this common? I started taking acyclovir for this but it seemed to worsen the situation so I stopped but I’m getting outbreak after outbreak back to back on my knuckles, what should I do? It’s embarrasing to have my hands all dried up from where the sores were, thanks.


AskDocWeb: We’ve not seen a specified time of day to take or to avoid taking Acyclovir. You may want to consult with a dermatologist to make sure your dosage is appropriate for your condition. They may also have other advice that could prove to be helpful.

Subj: Recurrence of sores
Date: 10/23/2008
I got genital herpes infection. So I take acyclovir to reduce the symptoms. After taking medicines I recover. But I noticed that after completion of my course of treatment again I suffer from recurrence of sores by herpes. Then again I become compelled to start traetment by acyclovir and after that the same things happen with me. Please help me so that I can surely get rid of this problem.


AskDocWeb: You can treat herpes but unfortunately there is no cure. Until medical science can find a cure for herpes, it will continue to be a life-long disease.

Subj: Tingling in hands and feet
Date: 10/26/2008
I got genital herpes from my husband when we were first married and used acyclovir for about 10 years. I stopped taking it about 5 years ago. My symptoms have became very minor and I now barely notice an outbreak. However, I have been suffering from severe tingling in my hands and also my feet, and I notice many of you have wondered if the acyclovir causes this. Having read all your questions, I am now wondering if the herpes virus – not the acyclovir – causes this after having it for a decade or more! I found the acyclovir to be a godsend. I even took it while I was pregnant.


Subj: Help to fight the virus?
Date: 11/6/2008
I have a very bad case of shingles. I’m 43 and have been in good health as an adult. I have been prescribed Acyclovir to help with the virus. Is there anything else I can do to help my body fight the virus?


AskDocWeb: L-Lysine supplement and Lysine ointment has been reported to help as well as avoiding sugar and arginine-rich foods.

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