Feedback on Acyclovir Side Effects and Usage, page 40

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: Immune to the acyclovir?
Date: 9/28/2010
I have been using acyclovir for cold sores for the past 4 years. Maybe once every 2-3 months. When I first started using it years ago, a small dose (2 pills of 500 mg taken together and 2 more 12 hours later) would stop the cold sore at the first sign of tingling and the cold sore never developed. Over time, the dose would have to be increased to get the same effect. Now I have to take 5 pills of 1000 mg each (all at once when I first feel the tingle) and another 3 or 4 twelve hours later, or I will still get the huge sore on my lip. It seems as though I have become immune to the acyclovir over time.


Subj: Hallucinations
Date: 9/29/2010
I started taking Acyclovir yesterday for cold sores. I sort of felt “different” at first, then I started having “minor” hallucinations. Last night, I woke up having trouble breathing. I’m assuming this particular drug and I aren’t destined to work out too well together, so I’m going to call the doctor this morning and find out what he has to say about it.

AskDocWeb: One of the symptoms of an overdose on Acyclovir is hallucinations.

Subj: Oversensitive and unable to sleep
Date: 10/5/2010
hi have just finished a 7 day course of aciclovir 5x daily 800mg per tablet for shingles. i have been oversensitive and for the last 2 days have been unable to sleep well at night- last nite awake until 530 am. are these possible side effects of the drug and how quickly should i get back to normal?


AskDocWeb: It would be helpful to know which sense was working overtime. Were you oversensitive to touch, sounds, feelings or what? The only hypersensitivity of any of the senses that has been associated with Acyclovir is photosensitivity (uncommon or rare), which results in a rash when skin is exposed to sunlight. Insomnia is not one of the officially recognized side effects of Acyclovir.

Subj: Gluten intolerant
Date: 10/6/2010
Recently I found that i am gluten intolerant; so far I have been using Acyclovir which helped my problems with herpes; can I cont. to use it safely in my new condition?


AskDocWeb: Acyclovir has no affect on gluten intolerance or sensitivity to Gluten. As for your continued use of Acyclovir, that is up to your doctor.

Subj: Eye shingles
Date: 10/19/2010
I have shingles in my eye after having brain radiation for Trigeminal Neurolgia. Is there a connection? Also, I have been taking acyclovir for about nine months for this condition and I do not see any improvement. I started with 5 tablets @ 800 mgs and now, down to two tablets per Optamologist. Are there any other medication that can get help rid of the shinkles?


AskDocWeb: There are other medications that might be used to treat shingles but currently there is no cure for ophthalmic shingles. Both famciclovir and valacyclovir (500 mg tid) have been shown to be as effective as acyclovir (800 mg 5 times a day) for treatment and reduction in complications. The use of oral corticosteroids and steroid eye drops have produced beneficial effects but they are not appropriate for all patients.

Subj: Pregnant
Date: 11/11/2010
I’m 14 weeks pregnant and my doctor prescribed me acyclovir 800 MG to take 1 tablet by mouth every 6 hours for shingles on my side. When he wrote the prescription I dont think he knew I was pregnant, so I’m holding out on taking it until I know if its ok to take the meds.


AskDocWeb: The FDA has put Acyclovir in pregnancy category B, which means that it is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. By the way, it is your responsibility to tell the prescribing doctor about your being pregnant. Even after your appointment you can call your doctor’s office. You can also ask your pharmacist.

Subj: A good way to question doctors?
Date: 11/14/2010
Recently I contracted HSV2, I already had HSV1, I don’t have health insurance, so after I got my test results back, I went to the county hospital’s urgent care to ask for a perscription for Acyclovir. The doctor who perscribed it is an ER doctor who said he isn’t too familiar with treating herpes but he was nice enough to write me a perscription. So now I’m taking 800mg 2x daily for recurrent cold sore rashes on the mouth and face. I have had lower spine pain, joint pain, severe upper arm pain and fatigue and fever BEFORE I started taking the Acyclovir, so maybe these are due to the new virus infection itself not the Acyclovir? I did notice really dry skin on my face, muscle aches and even more fatigue after taking the Acyclovir, though I am trying to drink lots of water.

My question is 800mg 2x daily as a maintenance dose? It seems like a very high dose, I’m worried about my kidney function. Have people had success w/lower maintenance doses? I want to ask the county primary care doctor I was assigned about maybe seeing if a lower maintenence dose might work but she is fairly hostile to questions. I’m not too familiar with talking to doctors, what’s a good way to question doctors about my dose w/out making them hostile?


AskDocWeb: Many of those being treated with Acyclovir have fewer outbreaks over time and by the third year most have no outbreaks at all. Remember that doctors are people too and they occasionally have bad days like everyone else. You could start your topics with softeners, words like “I’m concerned about…” or “I’m wondering about…”

Subj: How much water?
Date: 11/14/2010
I am taking 800mg twice daily for HSV1 and HSV2. I’ve only had outbreaks around the mouth so far. I’ve been taking the Acyclovir for about 2 months without an outbreak, but I do feel fatigue, arm numbness, muscle aches and dehydration. I’m wondering if these are mainly an effect of not drinking enough water and being dehydrated? Although I’ve been trying to drink more water. About how many ounces of water would be useful to drink while taking 800mg Acyclovir 2x daily?


AskDocWeb: The patient information says to take each dose with a full glass of water and to drink plenty of water while taking Acyclovir but does not give a specific amount. Someone who weighs 300 pounds is going to need more water than a person weighing only 120 pounds, so check with your doctor. We have seen recommendations that range from 6 to 10 glasses a day.

Subj: Hair and eyelashes falling out
Date: 11/15/2010
Hi, Ive been on Alcovir for suppression of HSV2 for about 18 months now. I have noticed that my hair is falling out, along with my eyelasehes and eyebrows. I have has blood tests at the docs to rule out any other problems and I an waiting for the results. My question- is there any other medication that the gum clinics give out withiut this side effect. I have read that Famvir dosn’t carry this side effect and although very expensice I have ordered some from Canada to try. I have tried to stop tablets but had an attack about 5 days later. I don’t know whats worse living with the attacks or looking like Kojak!!! Thanks


AskDocWeb: A surprising number of drugs have been associated with hair loss. These drugs are listed here.

Subj: Why is it necessary?
Date: 11/18/2010
Why is it necessary to complete the dosage of 200mg x 5 for 5 days if the herpes blisters types II is gone after 2 days?


AskDocWeb: It is important to finish the full course of treatment in order to minimize the chance of the blisters redeveloping.

Subj: High blood sugar levels
Date: 11/18/2010


AskDocWeb: Acyclovir is not known to affect blood sugar levels but other drugs do. Here are some of the medications that raise blood sugar levels:

  • Antipsychotics: The National Institutes of Health notes that lithium, risperidone and olanzapine are three antipsychotics known for their hyperglycemic effects. These medications alter glucose tolerance within the body.
  • Birth Control Pills that contain high levels of estrogen. The lower dose contraceptive pills usually do not cause problems, although there may be a deterioration in blood sugar control at first.
  • Caffeine usually causes a spike in BSL’s (Blood Sugar Levels) within an hour of ingestion by stimulating the discharge of stress hormones.
  • corticosteroids including Cortisone skin preparations can raise blood sugars levels.
  • Estrogen used in menopause replacement therapy will throw off glycemic control.
  • Thyroid products reduce the amount of insulin your pancreas releases.
  • Anti-hypertensives drugs used to lower blood pressure: diuretics (Diuril, Hydrochlorothiazide, Amizide and Chlotride), beta blockers (Inderal, Lopresor, Visken and Tenormin), calcium channel blockers (Adalat, Cardisem, Calan and Isoptin)
  • Nicotinic acid… used to lower cholesterol levels.
  • Phenytoin or Dilantin may contribute to blocking the release of insulin.
  • Some over-the-counter medications such as decongestants containing pseudoephedrine alter the level of various hormones responsible for raising BSL’s.

The doctor who treats your Type 2 diabetes will be able to help you assess the risks and benefits of the medications used to treat your condition. If at any time you experience a side effect that you do not understand or is a concern, do not hesitate to call your doctor for advice.

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