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Precautions and Warnings With Acyclovir

In order to ensure a safe treatment process, it is important to be aware of precautions and warnings with acyclovir. For example, when taking this drug, there is a possible risk of kidney damage. In addition, acyclovir should be avoided by people with certain allergies. Precautions and warnings with acyclovir also extend to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Acyclovir: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking acyclovir (Zovirax®) 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
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Acyclovir

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking acyclovir include the following:
  • The medication can cause kidney damage, which can be dangerous. Let your healthcare provider know if you already have kidney disease, as you will need a lower acyclovir dosage, as well as more careful monitoring.
  • A serious condition called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome (TTP/HUS) has occurred in certain people taking acyclovir. This is a condition involving very low red blood cell and platelet counts. With TTP/HUS, the body forms many small blood clots. Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you have signs of TTP/HUS, including unusual bruising and bleeding or unexplained fever.
  • Acyclovir will not cure genital herpes. Therefore, you should avoid sexual contact while having an outbreak (or if you think you are about to have an outbreak). You should always use condoms, as genital herpes can be spread at any time.
  • The medication should be started as soon as possible after the first signs of shingles, genital herpes, or chickenpox, as it is most effective when taken early in the course of the infection.
  • Acyclovir is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug while pregnant (see Zovirax and Pregnancy).
  • The medication passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Zovirax and Breastfeeding).
  • Acyclovir can interact with a few other medications (see Drug Interactions With Acyclovir).
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