Though Acyclovir is generally a prescription medication, they are widely distributed all over the Internet for the millions of cold sore and fever blister sufferers all over the world.
You most likely have heard of the medication Acyclovir for cold sores. Zovirax, the brand name for acyclovir by GlaxoSmithKline, is one of the two sole FDA-approved cold sore prescription medications. This makes acyclovir generally safe to use and effective for treating cold sores.
Zovirax for Cold Sores
(Side Note: Acyclovir is the generic name for Zovirax and both will be used alternately in the rest of the article.) Zovirax is effective in cold sores mainly because Acyclovir has the ability to prevent the herpes simplex virus from replicating and thereby promoting faster healing. As you know, the herpes simplex is the causative virus that causes cold sore outbreaks and the anti-viral property in Acyclovir medication makes it effective in fighting against it.
Using acyclovir for cold sores has been proven most effective if it is applied early on as soon as the first symptoms of cold sores were felt (known as the Tingle stage). It helps limit the duration as well as the severity of the cold sore outbreak as it limits the virus involved. Many people can attest to the effectiveness of Acyclovir prescription medication to treat their cold sore outbreak faster.
Types of Acyclovir Prescription Medications
Acyclovir comes in at least four forms today. Zovirax cold sore cream (Acyclovir cream) is most commonly used and prescribed by doctors for cold sores. Acyclovir ointment is also available in health stores and pharmacies. Aside from these topical medications, Acyclovir tablets, capsules and liquid can also be used to treat certain herpes simplex infections which may include genital herpes.
For cold sore infections, Zovirax cream is simply applied on the affected area about five times a day for a total of four days. This should begin as early as the first signs of a cold sore are felt such as tingling, redness, itchiness, or bump. For conditions such as recurrent cold sores or genital herpes, an Acyclovir dose of 400 milligrams twice a day for up to about 12 months is usually recommended.
Acyclovir Side Effects
Zovirax is generally safe to use as long as the taken in the right dosage. A few reported cases of skin flushing, allergic inflammation, itching, stinging or burning sensations and skin drying has been associated with the use of Acyclovir. As in all other medications, taking too much may lead to serious consequences which may include kidney failure, lethargy, agitation and seizures.
Where Acyclovir Fails
As in almost all other cold sore medications, Zovirax is mainly effective in healing a cold sore outbreak. It does not have any claims, nor is it proven effective in preventing further infections. Note that the herpes simplex virus, once contracted, tends to stay in the body for good even after the cold sore has healed completely. Using acyclovir for cold sores is not an assurance that outbreaks will never happen again in an exposed person’s lifetime.