What is acyclovir?The drug aciclovir is one of the antivirals. It is mainly used in the therapy of herpes virus infections.
The drug aciclovir is one of the antivirals. It is mainly used in the therapy of herpes virus infections:
- general infections of the skin and mucous membranes
- Cold sores
- Genital herpes
- eye inflammation
Aciclovir is offered in different dosage forms:
- Tablets containing 200 mg, 400 mg or 800 mg acyclovir
- Oral suspension with 40 mg / ml equivalent to 200 mg acyclovir
- Eye ointment with 30 mg / g acyclovir
- Lip cream with 50 mg / g acyclovir
The drug is prescription. Available without a prescription, but subject to a pharmacy, are only aciclovir-containing lip creams for treating infections of the mouth and throat.
As an antimetabolite, the active ingredient aciclovir inhibits the metabolism in a cell. Aciclovir acts exclusively in infected cells. Once it has entered the virus, its enzymes convert the drug into acyclovir triphosphate.
It prevents the proliferation of herpes viruses, at the same time it is introduced into the virus genome. This ends the protein production and consequently the multiplication of herpes simplex viruses, herpes genitalis viruses or varicella zoster viruses.
While locally applied acyclovir only acts directly at this site, orally taken acyclovir can prevent the spread of herpes virus throughout the body. The active ingredient can even relieve nerve pain in shingles. This mechanism is still unclear. Aciclovir works better the earlier it is used.
Medical application & use
Aciclovir is used successfully as a herpes remedy. It has a viral inhibiting effect on infections with herpes simplex viruses, herpes genitalis viruses and varicella zoster viruses. Cold sores, mouth and throat infections, shingles, chickenpox, eye infections of the eyelid and cornea as well as herpes infections on the genitalia are the typical areas of application.
In addition, acyclovir cream applied to the skin relieves itching and mild to moderate pain. Special acyclovir eye creams and eye ointments should be used for the eyes. For the internal intake of acyclovir tablets and drinking solutions (suspensions) are available.
The duration of therapy depends strongly on the individual case. It usually lasts 5-10 days, occasionally longer. It is recommended to start treatment early with acyclovir. Apart from acute treatment, acyclovir is useful for the prevention and treatment of severe recurrent infections with herpes simplex viruses, herpes genitalis viruses or varicella zoster viruses.
Another patient clientele for treatment with aciclovir are individuals with weakened immune systems. Whether congenital or acquired later - for example, by immunosuppression after organ transplantation or in cytostatic cancer therapy: Aciclovir for patients with high risk of infection are a good preventive measure.
Acyclovir is also indicated to be helpful in the treatment of herpes simplex encephalitis. Here it acts in the form of an infusion solution.
Risks & Side Effects
Side effects are rare in acyclovir therapy. Local application with a cream or ointment may result in redness, dryness, itching, burning or peeling. Very rarely does contact dermatitis develop]. The in-house use of tablets has also been reported to have a rare history of itching, rash, dizziness, headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Clinically significant drug interactions are unknown. Occasionally, elevated laboratory values for bilirubin, liver enzyme, urea or creatinine in the blood may show up. If no child harm can be detected in the therapy of pregnant women with acyclovir tablets, careful consideration should be given to whether or not acyclovir treatment can be dispensed with during this phase. Breastfeeding should be avoided since the active ingredient can be detected in breast milk. Applying a cold sore cream with acyclovir is not a problem during pregnancy.
Since the active substance aciclovir is predominantly excreted via the kidneys, a carefully coordinated dose should be prescribed by the doctor in the case of existing renal insufficiency. Aciclovir should be used and dosed cautiously in persons over the age of 65 and people with compromised immune systems. During eye treatment no contact lenses may be worn. Aceclovir tablets are not suitable for children under the age of 5 years, but drinking solutions are not. For newborns both dosage forms are taboo.