Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Acyclovir
Last updated on June 26, 2019.
GENERIC NAMES: Acyclovir, Aciclovir
CHINESE NAME: 阿昔洛韋
COMMON BRANDS IN HONG KONG: Zovirax, Entir
What is Acyclovir for?
Acyclovir is an antiviral against herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 as well as varicella-zoster virus (herpes zoster and chickenpox). It is indicated for the following conditions:
- Treatment and prevention of herpes labialis (cold sores)
- Genital herpes
- Herpes zoster (shingles)
- Prevention of herpes simplex in immunocompromised patients (eg elderly, patients suffering from infections, patients taking immunosuppressants)
- Herpes simplex encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
- Herpes simplex keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
How to use it?
Acyclovir is usually taken by mouth as a tablet. It is also available as a skin cream, which is applied to the skin, eye ointment, and an injectable formulation.
For herpes simplex keratitis
|Adult||To the eye as 3% ointment
Apply inside the lower conjunctival sac 5 times daily every 4 hours. Continue treatment for at least 3 days upon the completion of healing.
For suppression of recurrent herpes simplex
|Adult||Oral – 800 mg daily in 2-4 divided doses and may reduce to 400-600 mg daily. Conditions should be reassessed every 6-12 months
For mild or infrequent recurrences: 200 mg 5 times daily for 5 days, preferably begin during the prodromal period
For primary herpes simplex infections
|Adult / Child above 2 years||Oral – 200 mg 5 times daily, usually every 4 hours while awake for 5-10 days.
For severely immunocompromised patients: 400 mg 5 times daily for 5 days
For herpes zoster (shingles)
|Adult||Oral – 800 mg 5 times daily for 7-10 days|
For varicella-zoster virus infection
|Adult||Oral – 800 mg 4 or 5 times daily for 5-7 days|
|Child above 2 years||20 mg/kg (up to a maximum of 800 mg), 4 times daily for 5 days|
For herpes simplex infections of skin
|Adult||Topical as 5% ointment / cream
Apply 5 or 6 times daily for 5-10 days, preferably begin in the prodromal period.
What are the side effects of Acyclovir?
Common side effects of Acyclovir associated with use in the eye include eye inflammation and eye pain. Side effects of Acyclovir when taken by mouth include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, fatigue, fever, headache, nausea, sensitive to sunlight (photosensitivity), skin reactions, and vomiting.
Where to buy Acyclovir in Hong Kong?
In Hong Kong, Acyclovir is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.
For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at http://www.drugoffice.gov.hk
For detailed information about the use of Acyclovir in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.
Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.