Aciclovir tablets are used to treat initial genital herpes outbreaks. They can also be used to prevent recurrent outbreaks.
This treatment is suitable for most adults and children.
Please note: where a generic product has been ordered we may use a range of manufacturers to provide you with your medication, in order to maintain our service levels.
1st outbreak - 1 course / 30 tablet(s) - £24.95
Repeat outbreak - 1 short course / 12 tablet(s) - £19.95
Repeat outbreak - 2 short courses / 24 tablet(s) - £24.95
Repeat outbreak - 3 short courses / 36 tablet(s) - £29.95
Repeat outbreak - 1 long course / 15 tablet(s) - £19.95
Repeat outbreak - 2 long courses / 30 tablet(s) - £24.95
Repeat outbreak - 3 long courses / 45 tablet(s) - £29.95
3 month course / 168 tablet(s) - £49.00
- genital herpes
- cold sores
Aciclovir should be taken within the first 5 days of symptoms appearing. It works by stopping the virus from growing and spreading, and reduces the severity of the infection.
Aciclovir starts to work within 24 hours and helps to clear up the sores and blisters as well as relieving pain and itching.
It may shorten the length of the outbreak by 1 to 2 days if taken early.
Aciclovir is also used to prevent and treat recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes (this is known as 'suppression treatment').
There's currently no cure for herpes. Once you've been infected by the virus, it will likely remain in your body for the rest of your life and you may get repeated outbreaks.
Outbreaks after the first episode are usually milder and tend to resolve without treatment, however if you find you are having more than 6 episodes per year, suppression treatment may help.
Aciclovir is suitable for most adults and children.
You should not take aciclovir if you have previously been allergic to it. You should also talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you:
- have kidney problems
- are over 65 years old
You can buy aciclovir from Zava if you have an outbreak of genital herpes or if you want to prevent future outbreaks.
You can test for genital herpes using a Zava test kit, or you’ll need to upload two photos of the affected area so our doctors can diagnose the infection.
If you have been diagnosed with the herpes infection by your doctor or a medical professional at a sexual-health clinic before, you can also buy aciclovir from Zava.
Not much is currently known about how aciclovir affects babies. When breastfeeding, a small amount of medicine will pass into breast milk. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding you should consult your GP before taking aciclovir.
There are certain medications that can affect the way aciclovir tablets work. They can also increase the chance of side effects.
Before starting treatment with aciclovir, you should tell your doctor if you take any of the following medications:
- colistimethate (an antibiotic) which can interact with aciclovir to worsen kidney function
- mycophenolate mofetil (given to patients after an organ transplant) which can interact with aciclovir to worsen liver function
- aminophylline or theophylline (used to treat asthma) which can be affected by aciclovir
You should also let your doctor know if you’re taking any herbal remedies, vitamins, or supplements.
- Begin taking aciclovir as soon as the first signs of the infection appear and as prescribed by your doctor
- Your doctor will tell you how much aciclovir you need to take because doses and length of treatment can vary. You should try to space the doses out evenly throughout the day
- Swallow the tablets with water. They can be taken with or without food. If you have trouble swallowing the tablets, they can be dissolved in at least 50ml of water
What should you do if you forget to take it?
If you forget to take aciclovir, you can take the dose you’ve forgotten as soon as you remember unless it’s close to the time of your next dose.
If it’s close to the next dose, just take one dose at that time and carry on as normal the next day.
What should you do if you take too much?
If you're worried you've taken more aciclovir than you need, you should contact your doctor straight away. Side effects of too much aciclovir include feeling sick or confused.
If you're taking aciclovir to prevent recurrent herpes outbreaks, the way you take it is the same as to treat outbreaks (see above) but the dose may be different.
For example, you may need to take 200mg of aciclovir 4 times a day at 6 hourly intervals for 6 to 12 months.
Always take the medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Common side effects include:
- feeling sick (nausea)
- being sick (vomiting)
- stomach pain
- skin rashes
- sensitivity to light
If you’re taking aciclovir for an outbreak of genital herpes, do not have sex until all of your sores or blister have healed.
Genital herpes can be passed on by skin contact with an infected area. There does not necessarily have to be a visible lesion or sore present and it can be transferred on the fingers of someone who has the virus. It can also be passed on by sharing sex toys.
The risk of passing on the infection to a sexual partner is higher when you have sores and blisters, but you can pass on the virus on at any time. The only way to protect a sexual partner completely is to wear a condom.
All contraception should continue to be effective while you’re taking aciclovir.
If aciclovir makes you throw up or you have diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, it’s possible that your contraceptive pill may not protect you from pregnancy.
The patient leaflet provided with your contraceptive pill should tell you what to do if you have sickness or diarrhoea. If you’re unsure consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Antiviral medication is recommended for the treatment of a genital herpes outbreak but there is no overall cure. The three main types of herpes treatment are:
There are also creams and ointments available which can prevent sores from itching and reduce pain.
- always using condoms for any sexual contact including oral sex
- avoid sharing sex toys
- avoid contact with blisters
- if contact does occur, wash your hands
- managing stress, which is a common trigger for an outbreak of the virus
- eating a balanced diet
Dr Simran Deo Doctor
Dr Simran Deo qualified from St George’s, University of London in medicine in 2006 with a distinction in her written finals. She went on to specialise in general practice, obtaining the MRCGP certification in 2012. In 2014 she received a merit for the Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff University.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 04 Oct 2019
Accord. (2018). Aciclovir 400mg and 800mg Tablets. [online]. EMC. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.5692.pdf [accessed 28 September 2019].
Allen, H. (2016). Aciclovir for Viral Infections. [online]. Available at: https://patient.info/medicine/aciclovir-for-viral-infections-zovirax [accessed 28 September 2019].
British National Formulary. Aciclovir. [online]. Available at: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/aciclovir.html [Accessed 4th Oct 2019]
Informed Health. (2006). How Effective Are Creams and Tablets for the Treatment of Cold Sores? [online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525789/ [accessed 28 September 2019].
NHS. (2019). Aciclovir (including Zovirax). [online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/aciclovir/ [accessed 28 September 2019].
You can treat genital herpes two ways. One treatment option is for when you experience an individual outbreak (acute therapy) and the other is treatment for when you need to avoid regular outbreaks (suppressive). Zava offers both types of treatment through a discreet, convenient service.