Shingles is a viral infection, brought on by the exact same virus that leads to chickenpox. People only get shingles if they have previously had chickenpox as a kid. Shingles is also common among individuals with an impaired or weakened immune system such as those over the age of 60 and individuals with HIV.
Like most herpes strains, varicella-zoster or shingles does not have a cure. Still, there are medications available to manage the infection and eliminate its symptoms. A standard shingles treatment works by accelerating the healing process, relieving pain, and impeding or stopping future flare-ups. In rare cases where a patient’s infection is too severe or unresponsive to standard treatment methods, they may require a hospital stay to be supplied with an IV therapy. In most cases, however, a medication regimen typically solves the problem.
Acyclovir is one of the antiviral medications used in the treatment of shingles. Acyclovir is not only prescribed for cases of shingles but also chicken pox and herpes simplex. Acyclovir, like its counterparts, is only used to treat the infection and is not a cure for shingles or any other viral infection.
Because the virus that causes shingles remains in the body even a patient is not experiencing an outbreak, the primary purpose of Acyclovir is to lessen the severity and shorten the duration of flare-ups. This antiviral speeds up the healing of blisters, prevents the development of new blisters, and ease itching and pain in the affected areas.
In individuals with a suppressed immune system, Acyclovir is also used to lower the risk of the infection reaching to other areas of the body, leading to more serious complications.
While your doctor may provide you with case-specific instructions on how to use the medication, Acyclovir is an oral medication that is usually taken up to 5 times daily with or without food. Acyclovir is most effective when patients begin treatment as soon as they notice a flare-up.
Side Effects of Acyclovir
Similar to most antiviral medications, Acyclovir may cause dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. If you experience severe, stubborn side effects, make sure to consult with your primary physician or your pharmacist right away.
Featured Image: Depositphotos/© MrHamster