Aciclovir works by blocking the DNA synthesis of the virus by preventing cell replication, but without this interfering with the duplication of human DNA.
What is Aciclovir used for?
Aciclovir is indicated:
- for the suppression of Herpes simplex relapses in immunocompetent patients;
- for the prophylaxis of Herpes simplex infections in immunocompromised patients;
- in the treatment of Herpes simplex (HSV) type 1 (non-genital) and type 2 (genital) infections, including HSV encephalitis;
- for the treatment of chickenpox and herpes zoster (aetiological agent of chickenpox, the reactivation of which causes the so-called “Saint Anthony’s fire”)
How is Aciclovir taken?
Depending on the pathological cases to be treated, Aciclovir can be administered orally (tablets or oral suspension), intravenously or topically (for example, by means of ointment to be applied on cold sores).
Side effects of Aciclovir
Among the “common” side effects we find numerous gastrointestinal disorders such as:
- feeling sick
- discharge of diarrhea
- abdominal pain
Systemic disorders such as:
- sense of fatigue
- feverish state
- muscle pain
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders such as:
- itching and rashes
Nervous system disorders such as:
- psychiatric disorders
The “uncommon” effects include skin problems such as urticaria and rapid and widespread hair loss.
Among the “rare” side effects you can have:
- dyspnoea (respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders)
- complications of the immune system
- angioedema and – in the field of hepatobiliary pathologies – reversible increases in bilirubin and related liver enzymes.
Among the “very rare” effects are hepatobiliary pathologies:
Among the kidney and urinary pathologies:
- acute renal failure
- kidney pain
Among the pathologies of the blood and lymphatic system:
Among the psychiatric disorders and / or pathologies of the nervous system:
- state of agitation
- psychotic symptoms
- seizure symptoms
- hallucination states
Contraindications and warnings of Aciclovir
Aciclovir can cause complications to the kidneys , especially when it is administered too quickly or in high doses, or when the subject is poorly hydrated or already has impaired renal function. Before its administration, it is therefore advisable to check the functional parameters of the kidneys and it is recommended not to take them intravenously with rapid infusions.
To date, Aciclovir has not shown embryophetotoxicity, but its administration to pregnant women requires careful risk-benefit assessment.Its administration during breastfeeding also requires caution: Aciclovir is in fact excreted in breast milk, where it reaches concentrations up to 0.6-4.1 higher than ordinary maternal plasma levels.