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acyclovir (injection) (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using acyclovir injection (Zovirax)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to acyclovir or valacyclovir (Valtrex).

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need an acyclovir dose adjustment or special tests:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • liver disease;
  • a brain or nervous system disorder such as Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, or tardive dyskinesia; or
  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as high or low levels of calcium, sodium, or potassium in your blood).

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Herpes virus can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. If you have genital herpes, it is very important to prevent herpes lesions during your pregnancy so that you do not have a genital lesion when your baby is born.

Acyclovir can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use acyclovir injection (Zovirax)?

Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Acyclovir is injected into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use an IV at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.

Acyclovir must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take at least 1 hour to complete.

Treatment with acyclovir should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters).

Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

Drink plenty of liquids while you are using acyclovir to keep your kidneys working properly.

Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Acyclovir will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

Lesions caused by herpes viruses should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Wearing loose clothing may help to prevent irritation of the lesions.

Store acyclovir injection at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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