Can Aciclovir also be used for prophylaxis?
Aciclovir can also be used for prophylaxis. This is particularly useful for people who suffer from frequent and severe herpes or shingles. A daily dose of about 1g is recommended, which should be divided into three to five doses per day.
The dosage for the prevention of herpes or shingles should not be used for longer than one year and always in consultation with a doctor. Aciclovir can also be taken prophylactically in patients with a weak immune system. This also applies to patients who are taking medication to weaken the immune system due to an organ transplant. In this case, the dosage and the duration of taking the acyclovir must be discussed with the doctor and adjusted to the situation.
Is acyclovir available only on prescription?
Aciclovir can be used in different forms. There are ointments for application directly to the affected area. These are not subject to prescription and can be purchased in a pharmacy.
In contrast, acyclovir in the form of tablets is only available on prescription. The tablets act throughout the body and therefore, when taken, have an effect on all other organs. This is why there are more possible side effects of acyclovir in tablet form. Therefore, it is more effective in this form. If necessary, a prescription can be obtained from your family doctor.
What is the difference between Aciclovir and Penciclovir
The modes of action of acyclovir and penciclovir are very similar. However, the two substances show a small difference in their molecular structure. This is responsible for the fact that penciclovir can only be used as a cream.
Only a precursor of penciclovir, called Famciclovir, can be taken in tablet form and is then transformed into penciclovir in the body. Aciclovir can be used both as an ointment and in tablet form. Furthermore, Aciclovir is broken down in the body more quickly than Penciclovir.
Therefore Penciclovir has a longer duration of action than Aciclovir. In addition, Penciclovir also has a very good effect if it is used more than one day after the first symptoms or if blisters are already visible. In contrast, treatment with acyclovir should be started within the first 24 hours after the onset of symptoms.
Another alternative is the drug Zostex®, which is both faster and more effective. It is particularly suitable for the treatment of shingles. In addition, only 1 tablet a day needs to be swallowed.
Aciclovir in pregnancy
Herpes infections are not rare during pregnancy. For the safety of the child, treatment should always be carried out. The most common form of herpes during pregnancy is lip herpes, which can be successfully treated with acyclovir cream.
Sometimes an outbreak of shingles at a certain part of the body can also be caused by great stress or even immunodeficiency during pregnancy. Here too, treatment with acyclovir in tablet form should be used consistently. Despite a small number of studies, there is no evidence that acyclovir can harm the foetus.
First and foremost, it is important to ensure that the virus is rendered harmless in the body. Special care must be taken with genital herpes, as this can also cause an infection of the fetus at birth. The dosage is the same as for non-pregnant women and should be taken 5 times a day in a dosage of 800 mg for shingles.
Some gynaecologists recommend a dosage of 400 mg over the same period. Aciclovir can also be used after pregnancy if necessary. Thus, breastfeeding under an aiclovir treatment is also safe according to the studies conducted so far. It is important that the virus infection does not spread to the unborn child and can cause serious damage there.