Acyclovir is a prescription medication that is used to treat shingles, genital herpes, and chickenpox. These conditions are all caused by the herpes virus, and the Acyclovir medication helps to relieve the symptoms of an infection by preventing viruses from reproducing themselves. In addition to the primary usage, there are also other “off-label” uses, like treating other types of viral infections. Acyclovir is sometimes used to treat chickenpox for those who have been exposed to the virus previously. This article will focus on the oral forms of the Acyclovir medication.
A shingles infection is caused by the herpes virus, which also causes chickenpox. While most people will get chickenpox when they are young, the body never completely removes the virus, and it remains inactive in certain cells within the body. Sometimes, later in life, events that cause significant stress or illness may cause the virus to become active once more, thus causing a shingles infection. These symptoms can include a rash, and burning or tingling pain. Blisters usually develop, which burst and ooze. If this happens, there is a chance of spreading the infection to someone else who has not had it previously if they come into contact with an infected area. The pain associated with shingles may be severe, and it can remain long after the initial rash is gone.
Acyclovir is used to treat shingles, and it can help to heal the associated rash more quickly. Keep in mind, however, that Acyclovir will not cure the shingles infection; the virus will always be in the body in an inactive state, and may become active again during significant illness or stress.
Acyclovir is also used to treat genital herpes. This form of herpes is a sexually transmitted disease which is caused by the herpes virus (HSV-2). Symptoms of this form of herpes can include bumps, redness, itching, and painful urination. This disease is easily spread to others through sexual contact, even if the person does not show any symptoms at all.
Acyclovir is used to treat the symptoms of genital herpes. It cannot cure the disease, since, like with shingles, the virus will always remain in the body and can become active again at any time. Acyclovir may prevent outbreaks from occuring, and it can also decrease the severity of outbreaks that do occur.
Chickenpox is a common infection in children, which is caused by the same herpes virus as described above. Symptoms can include rashes, blisters, itching, tiredness, and fever. The infection is usually treated naturally by the body within a few weeks.
For more severe cases of chickenpox, however, a doctor may prescribe a medication such as Acyclovir to deal with the symptoms while the body fights off the infection. This is especially common in teens and adults who have not had chickenpox before, and whose immune systems are not as strong as that of a young child. Using an Acyclovir treatment, a chickenpox infection is usually treated within one or two weeks.