Understanding Risks With Acyclovir and How It Works
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking acyclovir if you have:
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Zovirax and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Zovirax and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Acyclovir to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
Shingles, genital herpes, and chickenpox are caused by viruses. Once a person has been infected with one of these viruses, it never goes away. It remains inactive in certain nerve cells of the body, waiting to become active again. Acyclovir is an antiviral medication that helps the body fight the infection. It does this by preventing the virus from multiplying.
Several studies have examined how well acyclovir treats shingles, genital herpes, and chickenpox.
In studies looking at acyclovir for shingles, the drug helped shingles lesions to heal faster and helped reduce pain. It also helped to prevent nerve pain associated with shingles. Studies suggested that the medicine was more effective when started within the first 48 hours after symptoms appeared and worked better in people over 50 years old.