Just a few questions from our Pharmacist before you checkout to make sure this medicine is safe for you.
What is aciclovir cream?
Aciclovir cream is a treatment for cold sores or genital herpes, an antiviral that can help to combat the virus that causes these conditions. It helps to make your sores less severe and helps them to heal more quickly, ideal for those who find that their condition is particularly severe or keeps coming back. Apply the cream directly to your skin 5 times a day and let it do its work helping your immune system to tackle the virus lurking in your skin.
How to use topical aciclovir cream
Your doctor will let you know how much aciclovir cream you should use, but you will usually use it as follows. Before using this product you should wash your hands thoroughly. Apply a thin layer of cream over the affected area, whether you’re treating a cold sore or genital herpes, the application is the same. Make sure that you don’t apply the cream on the insides of your mouth, anus, or genitals. Wash your hands again after you’ve finished your application. Apply the cream every 4 hours, 5 times a day. You will usually use the cream every day for 5 days, but if your cold sore or genital sores have not healed you can continue treatment for another 5 days.
How does aciclovir treat cold sores and genital herpes?
Aciclovir is an antiviral medication that can be used to treat both cold sores and genital herpes. You start to use it at the very first signs of a blister or sore popping up, usually a tell-tale itching or tingling sensation, and apply it to the area where it can get to work. It helps to keep the virus from replicating so it won’t grow, helping to keep your sores from being severe and helping them to clear up more quickly. Although it won’t cure the virus completely, it can help your immune system to deal with a flare-up and keep it under control.
What are cold sores?
Cold sores are small blisters that usually appear on your lips, although they can appear anywhere on the face. They’re caused by a virus that lives in your skin, flaring up every so often to form itchy, contagious blisters. When you have the virus you can get a cold sore at any time, although you may find that some things, like illnesses or your period, can cause flare-ups. Cold sores are harmless, although they can feel itchy, burning, and irritating, and they’ll usually clear up on their own within 10 days. However, if your cold sores are very large, painful, or keep coming back, you may benefit from a prescription treatment like aciclovir to help keep them under control.
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a virus that causes red, open sores or blisters around your genitals and bottom, sometimes spreading to your thighs. As a sexually transmitted infection (STI) herpes is spread when you have sex with someone who has herpes, especially if they are experiencing a flare-up of sores, which is when the condition is particularly contagious. There isn’t a cure for herpes, the virus will live in your skin and flare up every so often, but it can be managed with prescription treatments that can help you to manage your symptoms.
Are cold sores and herpes the same thing?
Cold sores and herpes are very similar, both forming sores or blisters and causing itching, burning, or tingling in the affected area. They’re so similar because they’re caused by the same virus, which is called herpes simplex. The herpes virus doesn’t have a cure, but it’s harmless and if you catch it it will just live in one area of your skin, usually around your mouth or genitals, and make itself known every so often. Herpes simplex is very contagious when you have sores or blisters, so you’ll have to be very careful not to pass it onto anyone else during a flare-up. It’s passed on through skin to skin contact, such as kissing or during sex, so it’s important that you take notice when you think you’re about to get herpes sores and take the necessary precautions to keep the virus from spreading to someone else.
Can I use this treatment if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
You should tell your prescriber during your consultation if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as you may not be able to use aciclovir at this time. You should limit the medications you use as much as possible during pregnancy, including this treatment, but if your prescriber determines that your need for this medicine is greater than the potential effects it could have on your pregnancy, aciclovir may still be right for you. With that being said, you should not take any medication until you’re given the all-clear by a medical professional, as they will be able to make sure your treatments are right for both you and your baby.
Can I use aciclovir cream if I’m taking other medication?
If you’re taking any other medication, including herbal remedies or medications you obtained without a prescription, you should let your prescriber know during your consultation. Some medications can interact when used together, making them less effective or causing unwanted side effects. This especially applies if you are already taking:
- Probenecid, which is used to treat gout
- Cimetidine, which is used for stomach ulcers
- Mycophenolate mofetil, which is used after organ transplants
- Aminophylline or theophylline, which are both used for asthma
When should this treatment not be used?
Do not use aciclovir cream if you are allergic to aciclovir, valaciclovir, or any of the other listed ingredients in this medication. For external use only, avoid contact with the eyes, inside of the mouth, inside of the genitals, and other sensitive areas. Let your prescriber know during your first consultation if you have any condition which means that your immune system is not working properly, as this may affect whether you can use this treatment or if you will need a different dose than usual.
Does aciclovir have side effects?
Like all medications, aciclovir can have side effects, although not everyone will experience them. If you experience any of the following side effects then you may be experiencing a severe allergic reaction and should stop use and seek immediate medical attention:
- Hives, also known as nettle rash or urticaria, which causes red, raised, itchy, bumpy skin
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the eyes, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat
Other side effects you may experience include:
- Burning or stinging where you applied the cream
- Dry, flaky skin
- Redness of the skin
If you experience these or any other side effects you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist right away. For more information about reporting the side effects of medication, you should see the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme.
Do I need a prescription for aciclovir cream?
You don’t always need a prescription for aciclovir cream in the UK. 2g tubes of cream are available over the counter, but you will need a prescription for 10g tubes as these are often used for herpes or long term cold sores. Our healthcare professionals can provide prescriptions if they think this treatment would be right for you and your condition. When you click the button which reads “Start Consultation” at the top of this page, you’ll see a short questionnaire set up by our healthcare team which is designed to help them understand your medical needs. Just like an in-person consultation with your GP, our doctors will assess your answers to their questions and write a prescription for the treatment they think will be best for you. You’ll then be able to pay for your medication and we’ll send it out to you quickly and in discreet packaging.
How to store this product
Store in a cool, dry place which is below 25 degrees C. Do not use this product if the expiry date printed on the original packaging has passed. Keep out of sight and reach of children.
This product is a medicine; make sure to speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist before taking this product if you have an underlying medical problem or are taking any other medicine or complementary therapy. If your symptoms get worse or continue after taking this product, contact us or your doctor. For medical services in your area, please refer to https://www.nhs.uk
If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or our pharmacist before taking this product. If you suffer from any allergies, ask your doctor or our pharmacist if this medicine is right for you.
Store all medicines out of sight and reach of children.
Please read the included leaflet carefully before using this product.
Please contact your GP if appropriate regarding this product.
Helpful Advice on Medication Restrictions & Addiction
For further information on our medication restrictions policy, please click here.
If you are concerned about addiction to 'over the counter' medication, we urge you to visit the below links for professional help and advice:
The active substance is aciclovir (5% w/w).
The other ingredients are cetyl alcohol, dimethicone, heavy liquid paraffin, polyethylene glycol - 5 glyceryl stearate, propylene glycol, sorbic acid, white soft paraffin and water.
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