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All about: Acyclovir Suspension

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Generic Name: Acyclovir Suspension (A-SIKE-low-vir)
Brand Name: Zovirax

Acyclovir Suspension is used for:

Treating shingles or chickenpox, or treating or suppressing genital herpes. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Acyclovir Suspension is an antiviral. It works by preventing the herpes virus from reproducing. Acyclovir does not eliminate the virus and is not a cure. It does not prevent transmission of the virus to others.

Do NOT use Acyclovir Suspension if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Acyclovir Suspension or to valacyclovir

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Acyclovir Suspension:

Some medical conditions may interact with Acyclovir Suspension. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have kidney problems or a weakened immune system
  • if you are receiving hemodialysis

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Acyclovir Suspension. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Medicines that may harm the kidney (eg, aminoglycoside antibiotics [eg, gentamicin], amphotericin B, cyclosporine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] [eg, ibuprofen], tacrolimus, vancomycin) because the risk of kidney side effects may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the kidney.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Acyclovir Suspension may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Acyclovir Suspension:

Use Acyclovir Suspension as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Acyclovir Suspension by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Shake well before each use.
  • Use a measuring device marked for medicine dosing. Ask your pharmacist for help if you are unsure of how to measure your dose.
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Acyclovir Suspension is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • Start therapy with Acyclovir Suspension at the earliest sign or symptom of chickenpox, shingles, or genital herpes (pain, burning, blisters).
  • If treating an acute outbreak, continue using Acyclovir Suspension for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days.
  • If you miss a dose of Acyclovir Suspension, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Acyclovir Suspension.

Important safety information:

  • Acyclovir Suspension may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Acyclovir Suspension with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Acyclovir Suspension may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Acyclovir Suspension. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Acyclovir Suspension is not a cure for genital herpes and will not prevent the virus from spreading. Avoid sexual intercourse when sores are present to prevent infecting your partner. You can also be contagious and spread the herpes virus but not have any signs or symptoms at all. This is called asymptomatic viral shedding.
  • Lab tests, including kidney function may be performed while you use Acyclovir Suspension. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Acyclovir Suspension with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Use Acyclovir Suspension with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old; safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Acyclovir Suspension while you are pregnant. Acyclovir Suspension is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Acyclovir Suspension, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Acyclovir Suspension:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; general body discomfort; headache; muscle weakness; nausea; stomach upset; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); aggressive behavior; confusion; decreased consciousness; decreased urination; easy bruising or bleeding; fever; hallucinations; hoarseness; mania; mental or mood changes; red, swollen, or blistered skin; seizures; swelling of the hands or feet; vision changes; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include agitation; loss of consciousness; seizures; tiredness.

Proper storage of Acyclovir Suspension:

Store Acyclovir Suspension at room temperature, between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Acyclovir Suspension out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Acyclovir Suspension, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Acyclovir Suspension is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Acyclovir Suspension. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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