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Choosing the best acyclovir cream depends on the health care provider's recommendations. Since acyclovir cream is only available by prescription, the doctor will make recommendations based on the patient's medical condition, other medications that he is taking, and the area on which he intends to use the cream. In addition, acyclovir cream is indicated for the treatment of the herpes simplex virus. Acyclovir is also available in oral form, and, like the cream, it is available only by prescription.
Acyclovir cream is used to treat fever blisters, or cold sores, and genital herpes. It is formulated as either an ointment or cream and is typically prescribed for four days and applied up to five times per day. Treatment is best initiated at the first sign of a breakout when symptoms appear as itching, redness, or tingling. Treatment can, however, be initiated at any stage of the breakout, from the initial stages to the last few days of the breakout.
Side effects of acyclovir include irritation of the skin, including burning, inflammation, or redness, peeling skin, and itching. In addition, acyclovir cream can cause rashes, hives, and itching at the site of application. Severe adverse reactions include difficulty breathing and swelling of the throat, face, and lips, which are medical emergencies. Patients who are pregnant, breast feeding, or are considering the possibility of pregnancy need to consult with the health care provider before considering this treatment.
If side effects occur, the health care provider may need to adjust the prescription strength of the acyclovir cream. To minimize adverse reactions, patients should be advised to wear plastic or latex gloves when applying the medication, and only apply it on the affected areas. Although minor local irritation is common and not considered a serious adverse reaction, the physician should be notified at the first sign of skin irritation or other unusual side effects so an alternative treatment plan can be considered.
Acyclovir cream is an anti-viral medication, so it is not effective in treating skin infections related to bacterial organisms. Therefore, skin conditions such as impetigo, staph infections, and carbuncles will not respond to treatment with acyclovir cream. Since the herpes virus may react during periods of stress, managing stress is important. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, and getting enough rest. These measures may even cause acyclovir to work more efficiently.