What is acyclovir ointment?

GENERIC NAME: ACYCLOVIR CREAM – TOPICAL (ay-SYE-kloe-vir)

BRAND NAME(S): Zovirax

Medication Uses | How To Use | Side Effects | Precautions | Drug Interactions | Overdose | Notes | Missed Dose | Storage

USES: This medication is used to treat “cold sores/fever blisters” (herpes labialis). It can speed up healing of the sores and decrease symptoms (such as tingling, pain, burning, itching). Acyclovir belongs to a class of medications known as antivirals. It works by stopping the growth of the virus. This medication does not cure herpes, and it does not prevent passing the infection to someone else. It does not prevent a future occurrence.OTHER This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved US professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.This medication may also be used to treat genital herpes. Other medications taken by mouth may be more effective for genital herpes. Discuss your treatment options with your doctor. This medication does not cure herpes or prevent infection of sexual partners.

HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet available from your pharmacist. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.Use this medication at the first sign of infection (such as tingling, burning, redness). Wash your hands with soap and water before and after applying this medication. Clean and dry the affected areas before applying the medication. Apply to the affected area and rub in gently, usually 5 times a day (every 3 to 4 hours) for 4 days for cold sores, or as directed by your doctor. Apply enough cream to cover all affected areas (red/tingling/burning areas, sores).Apply to skin only. Do not apply this medication in the eyes or nose, inside the mouth, or inside the vagina. If you do get medication in those areas, flush with plenty of water.Dosage is based on your medical condition, type of infection, and response to treatment. Do not use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed.Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. This medication works best when the amount of drug absorbed by the skin stays at a constant level. Therefore, use this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.To prevent washing off the medication, do not bathe, shower, or swim right after applying it.If applying to genital herpes sores, use a finger cot or rubber gloves to avoid spreading the infection.Do not apply other skin products (such as drugs, cosmetics, sun screens, or lip balms) unless told to do so by your doctor. Do not cover the area with plastic or waterproof bandages unless told to do so by your doctor.Cold sores (herpes) can spread easily. Acyclovir cream does not prevent the spread of herpes. Avoid close physical contact with others (such as kissing) during an outbreak until the cold sores have completely healed. Also, try not to touch the cold sore, and wash your hands if you do touch the cold sore.If you are using acyclovir for treatment of genital herpes, it is important to follow safe sex practices to reduce the risk of giving herpes to your partner, even if there are no symptoms present. Always use a condom made of latex or polyurethane. When you have symptoms or are experiencing an outbreak, do not have sexual contact with your partner.Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens after treatment is finished.

Acyclovir topical

Generic Name: acyclovir (topical) (a SYE klo veer)
Brand Name: Zovirax Topical

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Jun 14, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

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What is acyclovir topical?

Acyclovir topical (for the skin) is an antiviral medicine that is used to treat skin symptoms caused by the herpes virus.

Acyclovir topical cream is used to treat cold sores on the lips and face.

Acyclovir topical ointment is used to treat genital herpes lesions.

There is no cure for herpes and acyclovir will not prevent you from developing symptoms in the future.

Acyclovir topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use acyclovir topical if you are allergic to acyclovir or valacyclovir (Valtrex).

Acyclovir topical is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine).

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. However, herpes virus can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. If you have genital herpes, it is very important to prevent herpes lesions during your pregnancy, so that you do not have a genital lesion when your baby is born.

You should not breastfeed if you have a herpes lesion on or near your breast.

How should I use acyclovir topical?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin.

Start using acyclovir as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters).

Wash your hands before and after applying this medicine.

Apply only enough cream to cover the cold sore or tingly area.

Apply only enough ointment to cover the genital lesion(s) completely. Wear a glove or a finger cot or use a cotton swab when applying the ointment to avoid spreading the virus to other body parts and to other people.

Acyclovir topical cream is usually applied 5 times daily for 4 days. Acyclovir topical ointment is usually applied 6 times daily for 7 days. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions very carefully.

Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of acyclovir topical is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using acyclovir topical?

Avoid getting this medication in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If this does happen, rinse with water. When treating a cold sore, apply the medication only to the outer part of your lips.

Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with acyclovir topical unless your doctor tells you to.

Using acyclovir topical will not prevent you from passing genital herpes to other people. Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people even while you are using acyclovir.

Avoid sexual intercourse or use a latex condom to help keep you from spreading the virus to others. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection.

Acyclovir topical side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Common side effects may include:

  • dry, cracked, or peeling lips;

  • dryness or flaking of treated skin;

  • burning, stinging, or itching when the medicine is applied.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Acyclovir topical dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Simplex Labialis:

5% Cream:
Apply to the affected area on face or lips 5 times a day for 4 days
-Initiate therapy as early as possible following onset of signs and symptoms of herpes labialis
Use: For the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis (cold sores) in immunocompetent adults.

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Simplex — Mucocutaneous/Immunocompromised Host:

5% Ointment:
Apply to affected area every 3 hours, 6 times a day for 7 days
-Therapy should be started as early as possible following onset of signs and symptoms

-The dose size per application will vary depending upon the total lesion area; it should approximate a one-half inch ribbon of ointment per 4 square inches of surface area.
-A finger cot or rubber glove should be used when applying ointment to prevent autoinoculation of other body sites and transmission to other persons.
Uses: For the management of initial genital herpes and in limited non-life-threatening mucocutaneous HSV infections in immunocompromised adults.

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Simplex:

5% Ointment:
Apply to affected area every 3 hours, 6 times a day for 7 days
-Therapy should be started as early as possible following onset of signs and symptoms

-The dose size per application will vary depending upon the total lesion area; it should approximate a one-half inch ribbon of ointment per 4 square inches of surface area.
-A finger cot or rubber glove should be used when applying ointment to prevent autoinoculation of other body sites and transmission to other persons.
Uses: For the management of initial genital herpes and in limited non-life-threatening mucocutaneous HSV infections in immunocompromised adults.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Herpes Simplex Labialis:

12 years or older:
5% Cream:
Apply to the affected area on face or lips 5 times a day for 4 days
-Initiate therapy as early as possible following onset of signs and symptoms of herpes labialis
Use: For the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis (cold sores) in pediatric patients 12 years of age or older.

What other drugs will affect acyclovir topical?

Medicine used on the skin is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01.

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More about acyclovir topical

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  • Drug class: topical antivirals

Consumer resources

  • Acyclovir Cream
  • Acyclovir Ointment
  • Acyclovir Topical (Advanced Reading)

Other brands: Zovirax Cream, Zovirax Ointment

Professional resources

  • Acyclovir topical (AHFS Monograph)
  • … +3 more

Related treatment guides

  • Cold Sores
  • Herpes Simplex

Zovirax Ointment

How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Acyclovir topical is used to manage initial episodes of herpes infections. It is an antiviral medication that helps to reduce the pain and severity of herpes lesions or sores.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each gram of ointment contains 50 mg of acyclovir. Nonmedicinal ingredient: polyethylene glycol base.

How should I use this medication?

Apply the medication liberally to the affected area 4 to 6 times daily for up to 10 days as directed by your doctor. A sufficient quantity of ointment should be applied to adequately cover all lesions. When applying, wear a finger cot or rubber glove to decrease the chances of spreading the infection to other sites or other people. You should start using this medication as soon as possible following the onset of signs and symptoms.

Do not use this medication in the eye or on mucous membrane such as inside surfaces of the mouth or vagina. This medication is for use on external skin surfaces. Do not ingest this medication.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to acyclovir, valacyclovir, or any of the ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is used in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who uses this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people using this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • contact dermatitis
  • itching, stinging, or redness of the genital area
  • mild pain, burning and/or stinging upon application
  • skin rash

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Prevention of recurrence: Applying acyclovir topical to areas when no symptoms are present will not prevent the recurrence of infection. Apply acyclovir topical only at the first appearance of a herpes infection episode.

Protection from infection: Current research studies have not shown that the topical form of acyclovir prevents transmission of infection to other persons.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: Acyclovir, when taken as a tablet or injection, is known to pass into breast milk. No information is available on the amount of acyclovir that may appear in breast milk after using the topical form of acyclovir. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using acyclovir topical, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Zovirax-Ointment

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