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Buy aciclovir safely, securely and easily in a few simple steps. Start a consultation today to check your eligibility with a prescribing clinician, at no cost to you.

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Manufactured by various MHRA-approved generic manufacturers


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Updated on 30 Jan 2024

What to do if you missed your aciclovir dose

Report suspected side effects or adverse reactions to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) using the Yellow Card Reporting system that covers medicines, vaccines, e-cigarettes and medical device incidents.

Learn more about reporting side effects

Other known brand names

Zovirax, Sitavig

About aciclovir

Aciclovir is an antiviral drug used for the treatment of cold sores (herpes labialis) and genital herpes (herpes simplex strain 2, HSV-2), which are both herpes viruses.

Aciclovir is also used to treat varicella zoster virus (VZV, herpes zoster), which causes chickenpox and shingles and is also used in immunocompromised patients to prevent infections such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) in those who have had an organ transplant.

Aciclovir’s mechanism of action is to block certain enzymes in the virus, preventing virus replication. This allows your immune system to control the infection.

NowPatient offers aciclovir for the treatment of Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, and shingles only, following an online consultation with a prescribing clinician.

Key facts of aciclovir

  • Aciclovir is used to treat genital herpes, cold sores, and shingles (herpes zoster) in adults
  • Aciclovir has some common side effects which include skin reactions, nausea and vomiting
  • It can be dangerous if you take aciclovir with certain medications. If you’re not sure if it is safe, discuss this with the prescribing clinician

Who is aciclovir suitable for?

Aciclovir is suitable for adults between 18 and 65 years of age.

Who is aciclovir not suitable for?

Aciclovir may not be suitable for some people. To make sure it’s safe for you, speak to the prescribing clinician before using aciclovir if you:

  • Have had an allergic reaction to the active ingredient aciclovir in the past
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have liver problems
  • Are over 65 years of age
  • Have a weak immune system

How and where to get aciclovir?

Aciclovir tablets are available with a prescription only. They are not available over the counter at a pharmacy.

NowPatient does not allow customers to buy aciclovir tablets directly. Our service is certified, safe and effective, and we only ever treat conditions. If you book a consultation with a prescribing clinician for the treatment of Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, or shingles, you can discuss if aciclovir is a suitable treatment option for you.

At the end of the consultation, the clinician will decide if a treatment plan is suitable for you. If it is, the clinician will issue you with a prescription which can then be ordered, paid for and delivered directly to your chosen address by NowPatient.

Dosage and strength for aciclovir for Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, and shingles

Aciclovir is available as a tablet, and when used for Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, or shingles, it is available in strengths ranging from 200 to 800 mg tablets.

Information about how to take aciclovir for Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, and shingles

Your dose of aciclovir will depend on the condition you are being treated for:

  • Herpes Simplex virus – 200mg, five times a day for 5 days at 4 hourly intervals
  • Genital herpes – 200mg, five times a day or 400mg three times a day for 5 days or longer if new lesion appear or healing incomplete
  • Shingles – 800mg five times a day for 7 days at 4 hourly intervals

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at your usual time. You should always complete the course of treatment as prescribed by your healthcare provider and read the patient information leaflet provided with your medication for further drug information.

What happens if you take too much aciclovir?

If you take more than prescribed, then it can lead to some unpleasant side effects. You should talk to your doctor or reach out to one of our prescribing clinicians, if you have taken too much aciclovir and you experience any of the following side effects:

What are the side effects of aciclovir?

Very common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Photosensitivity
  • Skin rash
  • Itching

If you experience any serious side effects, you should contact NHS 111.

If you experience a serious allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis with the signs shown below you should contact emergency services on 999.

  • Your lips, mouth, throat or tongue suddenly become swollen
  • You’re breathing very fast or struggling to breathe (you may become very wheezy or feel like you’re choking or gasping for air)
  • Your throat feels tight or you’re struggling to swallow
  • Your skin, tongue or lips turn blue, grey or pale (if you have black or brown skin, this may be easier to see on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet)
  • You suddenly become very confused, drowsy or dizzy
  • Someone faints and cannot be woken up

Always report adverse effects to the MHRA yellow card reporting system. You can read more about this here How and where do I report side effects of my medication? – NowPatient

Information about taking aciclovir at the same time as other medications or herbal supplements

There is not enough evidence to suggest there are any drug interactions between herbal supplements and aciclovir. In any event, you should let your prescribing clinician know if you are taking any herbal supplements.

Also, speak to your doctor if you are taking certain prescription drugs, in case of drug interactions:

  • Aminoglycosides
  • Methotrexate
  • Cyclosporin
  • Tacrolimus
  • Cimetidine
  • Probenecid

Can aciclovir taken for Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, shingles be taken long term?

Courses of treatment of aciclovir range from 5 to 7 days. If your condition has not improved within this time, speak to your doctor for medical advice.

Is there a herbal aciclovir?

No. Herbal aciclovir does not exist. If you have been marketed such a formulation, it may be fake.

Can women use aciclovir?

Women can take aciclovir for the treatment of Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, or shingles. However, aciclovir is not recommended during pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding as aciclovir may pass into breast milk. Checking with your doctor before taking aciclovir.

Should I avoid any particular food or drink when taking aciclovir?

You can eat and drink normally when taking aciclovir for the treatment of Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, or shingles.

What lifestyle changes can I make to help me with Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, or shingles.?

Condoms can reduce the risk of getting genital herpes if used correctly, but be aware, a condom will only protect the area of the body it covers. You should also avoid sex while you have outbreaks of sores or blisters.

Shingles develops when the varicella-zoster virus, which originally caused chickenpox, is reactivated in your body, after you have already had chickenpox. There are vaccines such as Shingrix that are now available. Speak to your doctor for advice if you are considering the Shingrix vaccine.

Alternatives to aciclovir

Alternatives for the treatment of Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes, or shingles include other antiviral drugs such as Valtrex, valaciclovir, Famvir, or famciclovir.


Medical Disclaimer

NowPatient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information on this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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