What is Acyclovir ointment used for (side effects & precautions)

Why is Acyclovir topically prescribed?

Acyclovir cream is used in the treatment of diseases like cold sores, fever blisters that are caused by a virus called herpes simplex, and acyclovir ointment used in the treatment of the first outbreak of genital herpes infection that causes sores to form around the genitals and rectum from time to time. It increases the speed of healing power of the sores and decreases symptoms or side effects such as tingling, pain, burning, itching in your body. 

Acyclovir medication is in a class of synthetic nucleoside analogues or an antiviral drug. In your body, acyclovir ointment works by stopping the spread of the herpes virus. In other peoples, it will not stop the spread of the herpes virus, does not cure cold sores or genital herpes, and will not prevent outbreaks of these conditions.

How should Acyclovir medicine be used?

Acyclovir topical is available in the form of cream and ointment to apply on the skin.  During a cold sore outbreak, you can use acyclovir cream at any time but if you will use it at the beginning of a cold sore outbreak then it will work best, and usually, it is used five times a day for 4 days. Acyclovir ointment is used six times a day for 7 days for the treatment of tingling, redness, itching, or a bump when a cold sore has not yet formed.

After you experience the first symptoms or side effects of infection, then try to use it as soon as possible. Always remember that you have to follow all the directions on your prescription label carefully, and use this medication exactly as directed by your health care professionals. 

If anything that you don’t understand, ask your health care professionals to explain. Don’t try to use this medication more or less often than prescribed by your health care professionals. If your symptoms do not improve after using this medication and getting worse or during your treatment with acyclovir ointment or cream then talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Remember that acyclovir ointment or cream does not get into your eyes, or inside your mouth or nose while you are using it because this medication is only created for use on the skin. It would be harmful and cause some side effects. Apply acyclovir ointment or cream carefully on the affected do not use it on unaffected or other areas such as genital herpes sores of skin because this medication is only created for use on the affected area of skin or where a cold sore has formed or seems likely to form.

While you are using the acyclovir ointment or cream medication then don’t try to use another medication or product like cosmetics, sunscreen, or lip balm on the affected area or cold sore area until your doctor or pharmacist tells you to use it. 

How to apply acyclovir ointment on affected areas?

  1. Before using acyclovir ointment, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water very gently.
  2. Then take a clean finger cot or rubber glove and wear it.
  3. After that take enough ointment to cover all the affected areas.
  4. Apply the ointment to all of your sores.
  5. After that take off the rubber glove or finger cot and dispose of it. So that no one can find it.
  6. Avoid wrapping and wearing tight-fitting clothing over the affected area and keep the sore area dry and clean.

How to use acyclovir cream on affected areas?

  1. Before using acyclovir cream, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water very gently.
  2. Clean and dry the affected where you will use acyclovir cream
  3. After that take enough cream to cover a cold sore area that has formed or seems likely to form.
  4. Apply the cream and rub it until the cold sore disappears.
  5. After that take off the rubber glove or finger cot and dispose of it. So that no one can find it.
  6. Avoid wrapping and wearing tight-fitting clothing over the affected area and keep the cold sore area dry and clean.
  7. After that wash your hand again thoroughly with soap and water very gently to remove the cream from your fingers.
  8. Ensure that you do not wash the area where you apply the cream on your skin. So, remember not to take shower, to bathe, or swim after applying this medication on affected areas.
  9. While using acyclovir cream avoid irritation of the cold sore area.

If you want to get the most benefits from the acyclovir ointment or cream then use this medication regularly in order. And always use it at the same time each day. Until consulting your health care professional won’t try to stop using this medication.  

What are other uses of Acyclovir ointment?

There are some other uses of this medicine that it’s prescribed by your health care professional. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information about the prescribed treatments for other diseases of acyclovir ointment.

What special dietary plans should I follow?

Ask your doctor or health care professional for instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity. Or you can continue your normal diet if your doctor or health care professional didn’t give you any instructions.

What are the side effects of Acyclovir medication ?

Don’t use acyclovir ointment for a longer time period than prescribed, but in case, If you’re using acyclovir ointment for prolonged or repeated long periods then it may result in some serious side effects. If you notice or feel any of the new or worsening symptoms or side effects then tell your health care professionals.

This medication only uses serious side effects because people that are using acyclovir ointment have some serious side effects. Don’t use this medication without your doctor’s prescription, Doctors will suggest acyclovir ointment medication by judging the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.

Some common side effects of acyclovir ointment:

Stop taking or using acyclovir ointment if you experience any of these common side effects or symptoms and do not go away, then call your doctor immediately:

  • You’ll feel burning or stinging skin.
  • You’ll feel redness, swelling, or irritation in the affected area.
  • You’ll feel dry or cracked lips.
  • You’ll feel flaky, peeling, or dry skin.

Some serious side effects of acyclovir ointment:

Stop taking or using acyclovir ointment if you experience any of these serious side effects or symptoms and do not go away, then call your doctor immediately:

  • You’ll feel hives.
  • You’ll feel rash.
  • You’ll feel itching.
  • You’ll feel difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • You’ll feel swelling of the face, throat, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs.
  • You’ll feel hoarseness.

It can also cause other side effects and if you have any unusual problems apart from these while using acyclovir ointment then immediately contact your health care professionals because this is not the complete list of all symptoms and side effects of acyclovir ointment.

What special precautions could I take?

You should have followed this special precaution before using acyclovir ointment:

  • If you are allergic to acyclovir, valacyclovir, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in acyclovir cream or ointment then tell your doctor and pharmacist.
  • If you have or have ever had any condition that affects your immune system like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) then tell your doctor and pharmacist.
  • While you are using this medication, if you have any medical history or are allergic to this ointment medication or any other medications then tell your doctor and pharmacist.
  • If you are taking some prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products, or planning to take them, then tell your doctor and pharmacist.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding while using the acyclovir ointment. If you become pregnant while taking acyclovir ointment then tell your doctor and pharmacist.

Follow all the mentioned precautions carefully, these are all precautions that you can take while using the acyclovir ointment. If you have experienced or faced any of the problems mentioned above then contact your health care professionals immediately.

What can I do after I forget a dose?

If you forgot to take acyclovir ointment and if it is near the time of your next dose then we suggest you please skip that dose and take it at the next dose at the regular time. Don’t take the dose at irregular times. It makes your dose double and it would be harmful to you.

Always remember that when you start to take acyclovir ointment, always remember to write down all of the instructions that your healthcare professionals tell you when you ask a question.

What happens if I overdose?

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have experienced any of the following symptoms or side effects immediately. Some of the symptoms or side effects can occur because of an overdose of acyclovir ointment.

What can I know about the storage and disposal of this medication?

Store this medication at room temperature and keep them away from light or excessive heat and moisture. And put them away from the reach of the pets and children, we suggest you put that medicine in a tightly closed container in which they came. Never forget to leave this medication in a cold area.

You should have disposed of all the medication that is unneeded in a special way to ensure that children, pets, and other people can’t consume them. You can not flush them or pour them into the drain. You can return them to the pharmacist or the best way is that you can take back the program for returning your medicines.

What other information should I know?

Don’t miss any of your doctor and laboratory appointments because your doctor will check the response of this medicine then he/she will tell you the update or other pieces of information. So, keep all your appointments with your doctor, pharmacist, and the laboratory. 

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you feel your health condition is getting worse or your dose may need to be adjusted.

It is very important to tell your pharmacist about all your prescriptions and non-prescription you were taking and make a list of them and carry the list all time. It would help you in case of emergencies. When you meet or visit your doctor you should bring the list. It’s important to your doctor.

And ensure that no one is taking your medicine or no one has them. And every time when you meet your pharmacist or doctor asks them any of the questions you have about refilling your prescription.

Brand names

  • Zovirax® Cream
  • Zovirax® Ointment

Brand names of combination products

  • Xerese® (containing Acyclovir, Hydrocortisone)

Other names

  • Acycloguanosine
  • ACV

Hope you find this blog useful. Please tell us your experience with this blog in the comment section and keep visiting for further pieces of information.

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