Order Consultation for Genital Herpes Treatment

Pack of 56 aciclovir 400mg oral or dispersible tablets
back of blister pack containing aciclovir tablets
close up photo of two aciclovir pills

Aciclovir 400 mg tablets are used to treat genital herpes, and as a prophylaxis to prevent recurrent outbreaks. To place a prescription order for your genital herpes treatment, fill in our brief questionnaire. You can choose a preferred treatment, such as Aciclovir or Valaciclovir.

One of our doctors will check if the medication is suitable for you and issue your prescription to a local pharmacy in Ireland or your home address. Alternatively, you can choose to have your medication delivered directly to your door.

A consultation for a genital herpes treatment prescription costs €21.50.

Medical consultation with prescription if appropriate - €21.50
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What is aciclovir?

Aciclovir is a prescription-only medication used to treat genital herpes caused by the herpes simplex virus. It can be taken to suppress an acute herpes outbreak or to prevent recurring episodes. Dosage and duration of the treatment depend on whether you need to take aciclovir as a preventative measure or to treat acute symptoms.

Important to know: Once you have been infected with herpes, the virus will remain in your body for the rest of your life. However, aciclovir helps to render the virus inactive and improve your symptoms.

How does aciclovir work?

Aciclovir is an antiviral medication. It inhibits a particular enzyme the virus needs to reproduce in the body. As a result, your immune system is able to contain the virus and fight the infection. Apart from genital herpes aciclovir is also used to treat other viral infections such as cold sores, chickenpox and shingles. ZAVA Ireland only prescribes aciclovir as a genital herpes and cold sore medication.

What do I need to know before taking aciclovir?

Before taking aciclovir, you should read the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine carefully. During treatment, it is important to drink plenty of water, as aciclovir increases your risk of dehydration. The higher the dosage, the more important it is to watch out for symptoms of dehydration.

Aciclovir can also cause drowsiness in some patients. Make sure you do not operate any machinery or drive while feeling sleepy under the influence of aciclovir.

Can I take aciclovir tablets while breastfeeding?

There is little information on how aciclovir affects babies during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you are suffering from genital herpes during pregnancy or after birth, please consult your GP. ZAVA may not be able to offer prescriptions for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

How can I prevent herpes outbreaks with aciclovir?

Unlike bacterial infections, viral infections can be impossible to clear completely. Once you carry the herpes simplex virus you may suffer from recurring outbreaks, especially if your immune system is weakened. This means you may have occasional flare-ups of herpes symptoms, but not continuously.

If your symptoms are very severe or you repeatedly have recurrent episodes, you may need to take aciclovir to prevent them. Recurrent herpes episodes mean you experience more than 6 outbreaks in the course of 12 months.

I am suffering from kidney disease - can I take aciclovir tablets?

If you are suffering from kidney disease, consult your GP prior to taking aciclovir tablets. Patients with a reduced kidney function require a lower dosage for treating herpes outbreaks. Your doctor will be able to advise whether the benefits of taking aciclovir outweigh the risks in your case, and which dosage to take.

How are aciclovir tablets taken?

You need to swallow each aciclovir tablet with plenty of water. You can take it with or without food. If you are having trouble swallowing the tablet, you can dissolve it in a glass of water and drink it.

Which dosage do I need to take?

The exact dosage you require depends on your general health, your age and whether you are using aciclovir to prevent or suppress an acute outbreak:

  • The usual dosage to treat an outbreak is 3 x 400 mg tablets per day for 5 days.
  • If you are taking aciclovir as a preventative measure you need to take 2 tablets per day over a longer period of time. Depending on the success of your therapy, you may need to continue the treatment for several weeks or even months.

I feel much better - can I stop taking aciclovir?

You should always follow your doctor’s instructions when taking any medication. It is important that you finish your treatment course, especially if you are treating an acute outbreak (otherwise the symptoms are likely to return).

If you experience any side effects or would like to stop taking aciclovir, please consult your doctor before doing so. Your doctor will be able to advise whether it is wise to take a break or whether you should continue taking aciclovir tablets.

What does each aciclovir tablet contain?

The active ingredient in aciclovir tablets is aciclovir. ZAVA usually prescribes tablets with a dosage of 400 mg aciclovir. Other ingredients may include lactose, magnesium stearate, polyvidone, E132, E460, sodium starch glycolate, E172 and colloidal anhydrous silica.

Common aciclovir side effects

These side effects affect 1 in 10 people taking aciclovir:

  • nausea and being sick
  • diarrhoea and stomach pain
  • itchy skin rashes
  • tiredness
  • fever
  • sensitivity to artificial light

Uncommon side effects

These side effects affect less than 1 in 100 people taking aciclovir:

  • hives
  • hair loss
  • red patches on arms and hands
  • blisters and ulcers

Rare side effects

These side effects affect less than 1 in 1000 people taking aciclovir:

  • increase of particular liver enzymes
  • increase in the blood levels of urea and creatinine
  • impaired kidney function
  • drowsiness and confusion
  • hallucinations
  • convulsions
  • coma
  • anxiety and agitation
  • involuntary shaking
  • coordination difficulties
  • difficulty speaking

Very rare side effects include hepatitis, anaemia and other blood disorders. Please read the patient information leaflet in your medicine package for a full list of side effects and consult a doctor if you have any questions.

Drug Interactions

Speak to your GP before taking aciclovir if you are taking or have recently taken any of the following medications:

  • mycophenolate mofetil
  • cimetidine (used to treat gout)
  • ciclosporin (part of immunosuppressant treatment)
  • theophylline
  • zidovudine
Medically reviewed by:
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion

Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.

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Last reviewed: 09 Mar 2023