Active ingredients: aciclovir
What it is used for
For use in adult patients for: 1. The treatment of first episode (primary or non-primary) genital herpes and the management of recurrent episodes of genital herpes in certain patients; 2. The treatment of acute attacks of herpes zoster (shingles), when the duration of rash is less than 72 hours; 3. The management of patients with advanced symptomatic HIV disease (CD4+counts, <150 x 10exp6/L). GENITAL HERPES Initial episodes: The duration of viral shedding is reduced very significantly; the duration of pain and time to healing are also reduced. The promptness of initiation of therapy and/or the patient's prior exposure to Herpes simples virus may influence the degree of benefit from therapy. Intravenous therapy should be considered in patients in whom prostation, central nervous system involvement or inability to take oral medication requires hospitalisation and initiation of more aggressive management. Aciclovir does not prevent the establishment of latency in primary episodes. Recurrent episodes: a) Suppression: In patients with frequent recurrences, suppressive therapy prevents or reduces the frequency and/or severity of recurrences in a high proportion of patients. Abortive episodes (prodromal symptoms without vesicle formation) and occasional breakthrough episodes may, however, continue to occur during suppressive therapy. Suppressive therapy is not considered appropriate for patients in whom attacks are mild, last for short periods and/or occur infrequently (for example, less frequently than once a month). Aciclovir is effective only during the period of intake and has no residula beneficial effect. It does not eradicate the body viral pool. Following cessation of therapy of the time to onset of recurrences, their frequency, severity and duration remain generally unaffected. Some patients may experience increased severity of the first episode following cessation of therapy. The risk of inducing viral resistance and of potential long term adverse effects (see Carcinogenicity, Mutagenicity, Effects on fertility) should be weighed carefully before initiating suppressive therapy. Asymptomatic cases of genital herpes are known to shed the virus with a high frequency. However, at present only limited data are available on the extent and frequency of viral shedding in patients receiving suppressive therapy. Therefore, If therapy with aciclovir tablets is being used in prenatal period (see Use in Pregnancy) it should not be assumed that viral shedding has ceased. Pregnancy should be managed according to considerations normally applicable to patients with genital herpes. In view of the complex and variable natural history of genital herpes, suppressive therapy should be interrupted periodically to ascertain whether the disease has undergone spontaneous change in frequency or severity (see Dosage and Administration). b) Intermittent treatment: For certain patients intermittent short-term treatment of recurrences is effective. Although the average patient would derive limited benefits from such treatment, a minority of patients who have experienced severe, prolonged recurrent episodes or recurrences complicated by eczema, burns or immunosuppression may experience more appreciable benefits. In those patients, intermittent treatment may be more appropriate than suppressive therapy when recurrences are infrequent. HERPES ZOSTER In controlled trials, aciclovir was shown to reduce acute pain and rash progression in adult patients of all ages with herpes zoster, in whom the duration of rash was less than 72 hours. The same treatment On controlled trials, aciclovir was shown to reduce acute pain and rash progression appeared to be relatively less effective in younger patients, in whom herpes zoster is generally a milder disease. In ophthalmic zoster, oral aciclovir has been shown to reduce the incidence of stromal keratitis and both the incidence and severity of anterior uveitis, but not other ocular complicationsor acute pain. Note: In im mune-competent patients with very severe herpes zoster, immune-compromised patients or in patients with impaired absorption from the gut, consideration should be given to intravenous dosing. Patients with advanced symptomatic HIV disease (CD4+ counts, <150 x 10exp6/L). Studies have shown that oral aciclovir reduced mortality in patients with advanced HIV disease. In addition, oral aciclovir provided effective prophylaxis for herpes virus disease. No significant effective was seen on prophylaxsis of CMV disease of EBV disease.
How to take it
You should seek medical advice in relation to medicines and use only as directed by a healthcare professional.
- The way to take this medicine: Oral
- Store below 25 degrees Celsius
- Lifetime is 2 Years.
Always read the label. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.
Round, blue, flat-faced, bevelled-edged tablets, engraved "APO" over "200" on one side, the other side plain.
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Do I need a prescription?
This medicine is available from a pharmacist and requires a prescription. It is Schedule 4: Prescription Only Medicine.
Is this medicine subsidised?
This medicine is subsidised which may make it cheaper. To learn more about this subsidy, visit the Phamaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) website
Pregnant or planning a pregnancy?
For the active ingredient aciclovir
You should seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist about taking this medicine. They can help you balance the risks and the benefits of this medicine during pregnancy.
For side effects, taking other medicines and more
Download consumer medicine information leaflet (pdf)