Genital herpes is part of the same family of viruses that causes cold sores. It’s known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and it is incredibly common. More than 13% of the world’s population (aged between 15 and 49) were living with genital herpes in 2016.
Once you’ve caught the herpes simplex virus, it remains in your system for life. The first outbreak is usually the worst, with recurrent outbreaks less severe. Aciclovir can be taken at a low dose for long periods to reduce the likelihood of subsequent outbreaks.
Painful blisters around the genitals, anus, thighs and bottom, are the most obvious sign of a herpes infection. It’s usually accompanied by tingling, burning, or itching around the genitals, pain when you use the toilet, and unusual vaginal discharge in women.
Taken at the first sign of symptoms, aciclovir tablets (400mg) can reduce the severity of your symptoms and shorten the duration of the outbreak.
How to take Aciclovir tablets
The usual dose of Aciclovir is one 400 mg tablet, three times a day for five days. You should swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Aciclovir can be hard on your kidneys, so it’s important you stay hydrated while taking these tablets.
Try to space your doses out evenly, for example, six hours between each tablet.
Before you begin taking Aciclovir 400mg tablets, we recommend that you read the patient information leaflet.
Aciclovir 400mg tablets can cause unwanted symptoms in some people. Common Aciclovir side effects include:
- feeling or being sick
- stomach pain
- photosensitivity (skin reaction after exposure to light)
- unexplained fever
- feeling faint, especially when standing up
Feeling drowsy or sleepy can impair your reactions – check that you are not affected before you drive or operate machinery.
It is possible to suffer an allergic reaction to Aciclovir, that can cause swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or other parts of your body. If this happens, you should seek urgent medical attention.
For more information and instructions on how to report side effects using the Yellow Card Scheme, read the patient information leaflet for Aciclovir.
Can I buy Aciclovir over the counter?
Aciclovir is available in 200mg, 400mg, and 800mg with a prescription in the UK.
400mg tablets are available to buy from Post My Meds following a short online consultation. Our registered pharmacists will review your answers to check that you are suitable to take Aciclovir and, where it is safe to do so, we will process your order.
Online consultations are designed to check that the treatment you have chosen is right for you. If we think there is a more effective alternative, we will let you know.
Can I take Aciclovir while pregnant?
If you are pregnant and you suspect that you may have genital herpes, you should speak to a doctor or pharmacist before you start taking Aciclovir.
In most cases genital herpes is not harmful to pregnant women, however it may be passed onto your baby when you give birth. This can cause a serious, and in some cases fatal, condition known as neonatal herpes.
Do I need to tell my partner I have genital herpes?
Genital herpes infections are sexually transmitted (including oral sex) and can be passed on even when you aren’t displaying symptoms. It’s important that you tell any sexual partners that you have the condition so they can take precautions.
It can be months or even years between contracting the virus and the first outbreak of symptoms, so we also recommend informing previous sexual partners too.
Can I take Aciclovir with other medications?
To avoid a clash of medicines that can stop them working effectively, tell your doctor or pharmacist about anything else you are taking, including herbal remedies. In particular, you should declare if you are taking any of the following:
- mycophenolate mofetil
Can you take Aciclovir if you have kidney disease?
If you have kidney problems, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Aciclovir.
Are there any other ways to treat genital herpes?
Outbreaks of genital herpes can be painful and uncomfortable, but there are things you can do at home to make living with this condition easier. Healthcare professionals recommend that you:
- keep the area clean using plain or salt water to prevent infection
- do not wear tight clothing that can rub on your sores
- do not have sex until your blisters have popped and healed
- use an ice pack covered in a flannel to soothe the area
- apply Vaseline or painkilling cream to help reduce pain when you pee
- increase your fluid intake to dilute your urine
Organisations, like the Herpes Virus Association, can put you in touch with other people going through the same thing and help with everyday lifestyle tips.
Can you use Aciclovir to treat chicken pox?
The Varicella Zoster virus is a type of herpes infection that causes chicken pox and shingles. Aciclovir can be used to treat both, but you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist before giving this treatment to a child.
How will my order arrive?
To protect your privacy, we package all our orders in unbranded, brown envelopes or boxes – the only thing on there will be your name and address.
If you order before 4pm on a weekday or 11am on a Saturday, your order will be shipped the same day. Orders placed after this will be dispatched the next working day. Delivery is free and comes via Royal Mail first class post.
If you want to know more about how to treat herpes outbreaks using Aciclovir, read our frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, contact our friendly team at Post My Meds or download the patient information leaflet.