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Aciclovir, which is commonly prescribed as Zovirax, is typically used in the treatment of herpes. Herpes treatment includes genital herpes, shingles, herpes encephalitis, and herpes in people with compromised immune systems. Aciclovir is a member of the family of drugs known as antiviral medications.

Aciclovir is not appropriate for everyone. A thorough medical history should be assessed prior to prescribing this medication. Patients with a medical history which includes kidney illness, liver illness, current dialysis, brain disorders, nervous system disorders, breathing problems, or electrolyte imbalances may not be able to take Aciclovir or may require careful monitoring while undergoing treatment with this medication, depending on the condition and severity of the patient's condition.

The American Food and Drug Administration rated Aciclovir as a pregnancy risk category B, meaning this medication is not expected to cause harm or birth defects to an unborn baby. Since herpes can be passed from a mother to child during birth, it is vital that pregnant women are treated for herpes while they are carrying their child. Aciclovir does pass into the mother's breast milk and may cause harm to a nursing baby. This medication should not be prescribed to women who are nursing.

There is a risk of side effects associated with Aciclovir, some of which are severe. If a patient is experiencing a serious side effect or an allergic reaction they should seek immediate emergency medical assistance. An allergic reaction will present symptoms which include facial swelling, including swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat, hives, and difficulty breathing. Other serious side effects which require emergency medical treatment include fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, difficulty urinating, no urine output, a red, blistering, or peeling rash, swelling or pain at the injection site, skin color changes at the injection site, confusion, agitation, tremors, jaundice, pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, weakness, languor, hallucinations, or convulsions.

Less serious side effects typically do not require emergency medical treatment but should be reported to the prescribing physician. Patients should be encouraged to report all side effects. Less serious side effects include symptoms such as cephalalgias, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhoea, stomach pain, swelling in the hands or feet, myalgia, numbness or tingling, insomnia or other sleep problems, and a lack of coordination. Less serious side effects can often be reduced to a tolerable level by reducing the dose of Aciclovir.

Aciclovir should be taken exactly as prescribed by the physician. If the patient misses a dose, the dose should be taken as soon as it is remembered. However, if it is almost time for the next scheduled dose, the missed dose should be skipped to avoid the potential for an overdose. The patient should never take a double dose of this medication. If an overdose is suspected, the patient should seek immediate emergency medical attention. An overdose will present with symptoms which include decreased urination or no urination, hallucinations, agitation, and seizures.

There is a risk of drug interactions associated with Aciclovir. A thorough medical history should be taken prior to prescribing Aciclovir. Patients are urged to inquire with the prescribing physician before taking any new medications, including over the counter medications and herbal remedies. Medications with known negative interactions with Aciclovir include probenecid and some narcotic pain relievers.

Aciclovir has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of aciclovir

• Molecular formula of aciclovir is C8H11N5O3
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 2-amino-9-(2-hydroxyethoxymethyl)-3H-purin-6-one
• Molecular weight is 225.205 g/mol
Aciclovir available : 200mg capsules, 5% cream 2gm tube, 5% cream 5gm tube, 5% ointment 15gm tube, 200mg/5ml suspension 73ml bottle, 400mg tablets, 800mg tablets

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