Viral infections such as cold sores are very common all around the world. Cold sores are also known as fever blisters, oral herpes, and cold sore blisters. They seem like small bunched lumps around the mouth and lip. Cold sores are usually painful, tingly, itchy, and fluid-filled.
What are cold sores?
Dealing with cold sores is frustrating. The painful cold sore blisters develop on the most noticeable parts of your body and feel like popping up at any time. Cold sores are not only painful and uncomfortable but equally embarrassing.
Fatigue and stress can trigger a cold-sore outbreak, so watch out for your schedule to reduce the risk of a cold-sore outbreak. Sun exposure can also act as a trigger to cold sores so make sure you protect your face whenever you are out. Moreover, hormonal changes such as menstruation and pregnancy may also lead to cold sore blisters.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus
Herpes simplex virus HSV is a highly contagious virus. Herpes Simplex Virus has two strains HSV type 1 and HSV type 2. Generally, cold sores and oral herpes are caused by Herpes simplex virus HSV type 1. Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 causes genital herpes. However, most people get a cold sore inside the mouth or around the lips at least once.
Genital herpes virus spread from one person to another through intimate contact like sexual intercourse, kissing, or sharing an infected person’s stuff such as a towel or spoon, etc. It is possible to be exposed to Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 without any noticeable symptoms.
Once you get exposed to the herpes simplex virus and you catch the infection, the virus is going to hang out in your body forever. There is no medication to eliminate the virus from your body completely. However, there is the possibility to reduce the risk of reoccurrence by preventing viral replication.
Acyclovir for cold sore blisters and genital herpes
Oral herpes or cold sores (herpes liabialis) is the most common type of herpes virus touching roughly two third people between 14- 49 of age. Acyclovir is the generic name of the medicine. Acyclovir comes under the brand names Valacyclovir, Zovirax, Valtrex, etc. Acyclovir belongs to the antiviral medication class.
Struggling with a cold sore outbreak or oral herpes makes the patients think only about one thing, how to get rid of the virus in the fastest possible time. Acyclovir is the most prescribed antiviral medication for patients with cold sores. Your doctor may prescribe taking Acyclovir as a preventative or suppressive therapy.
Acyclovir suppressive therapy is a method to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others and restricting the viral replication that causes frequent outbreaks. Preventative treatment also reduces the possibility of spreading the virus to other people to some extent but suppressive therapy works better.
There is no complete cure for herpes simplex virus but Acyclovir treatment can help you deal with infections and reduce the possibility of an outbreak. Valacyclovir or Valtrex is the most commonly used antiviral medication to treat the herpes simplex virus.
Patients experiencing more than 6 cold sore outbreaks yearly, can use acyclovir as a preventative treatment. It means taking acyclovir the antiviral medication dosing on daily basis. It reduces the risk of a cold sore outbreak in patients by around 80 %.
Genital herpes is as stressful as cold sores. Patients with genital herpes may experience 4 to 5 outbreaks of the herpes virus per year. Frequent outbreaks make it vital to take Valacyclovir when you experience herpes lesions appearing.
Genital herpes happens in two phases. Once you get infected with the herpes virus, first you have an initial outbreak, an influential outbreak with severe symptoms. After this, genital herpes appears as recurrent outbreaks with a gap of a few months.
What is the right dose of Acyclovir for cold sores
Valacyclovir treatment is among the widely prescribed drugs to treat the herpes virus. Till now, millions of people used Valacyclovir medication and reported it as a safe and excellent drug to control cold sore outbreaks and genital herpes.
The antiviral medication works through a multifaceted mechanism that halts the replication of the herpes virus within the body. It makes the Valacyclovir treatment most useful for a variety of herpes virus-related conditions.
The right dose of Acyclovir medicine for cold sores (herpes labialis) differs from person to person. People with frequent recurrent outbreaks may need a high dose of Acyclovir treatment than people with a few cold sore blisters in a year.
The right dose of Acyclovir also depends on the body weight of the sufferer. Adult people with higher body weight may be prescribed a high dose of Acyclovir.
The usual dose for adults is an 800 mg or 2000 mg tablet. you may be advised to take many doses at certain times every day, usually within 12 hours for the duration of the outbreak. The high dosage of Valacyclovir treatment promptly stops multiplication and promotes cold sore healing within one to two days. The right dose of Acyclovir for children depends on their weight and age.
If your healthcare provider prescribed you to take Acyclovir treatment for cold sores, oral herpes, or genital herpes, make sure you stick to the recommended doses and frequency of the antiviral medication. Always follow your doctor’s advice while taking Acyclovir or any prescription medication.
Valtrex or Valacyclovir for cold sores
Valacyclovir treatment is highly effective to treat the herpes virus and boost the healing process. Valtrex or Valacyclovir is another brand name for Acyclovir. Valacyclovir is an effective treatment to treat cold sores in children and adults.
Valacyclovir is a prescription medication. Valacyclovir has high bioavailability and a long duration of action which means it is prescribed to take just a few times and has strong effects against a cold sore outbreak.
Valacyclovir for cold sores starts working as soon as you take the first dose but it may take around seven days to clear the symptoms of the outbreak completely.
Valacyclovir treatment for treating cold sores and genital herpes is most successful when taken as soon as symptoms appear during an outbreak. When taken early, right dose, and consistently, Valacyclovir treatment can make a severe genital herpes outbreak better and symptoms more manageable.
The Valacyclovir medication dosage clears out the symptoms of cold sores and also lowers the chances of spreading the infection to others. Valtrex oral tablets to treat cold sore outbreaks are prescribed to take twice a day for one day.
The recommended dose of Valacyclovir treatment for a cold sore outbreak in adults is 2g with a gap of 12 hours for one day. It is better, to begin with, the Valacyclovir treatment for cold sores immediately as you notice the symptom (bumps, itching, and burning) of having a cold sore arriving.
The usual dose of Valacyclovir for the initial outbreak of genital herpes is 1000 mg twice a day. This dosage usually continues for over ten days as the herpes virus outbreaks retreats and the lesions healing start.
For people prone to frequent outbreaks, Valacyclovir can be prescribed to take daily to reduce the duration of cold sore returning. Remember, Valtrex is a single-dose treatment for cold sores, don’t exceed the dose without consulting your doctor.
Because of the antiviral properties of Valcyclovir, it is also prescribed to prevent CMV/cytomegalovirus and in order to restrict the impact of viruses in people with weakened immune systems (cancer patients).
How to use Acyclovir for Cold sores
Acyclovir treatment for cold sores comes in form of tablets, Acyclovir liquid, and Acyclovir cream. Acyclovir liquid for cold sores comes with a measuring device to help you ensure the right dose. If you do not find a measuring spoon with Acyclovir liquid medicine for cold sores, ask your pharmacist for a measuring device.
If you are using Acyclovir cream for cold sores, make sure you apply it correctly. Wash your hands before you apply the cream on cold sores and after using the cream. Apply a thin layer of Acyclovir cream on your cold sores 5 times daily. Apply the cream on your cold sores with a gap of 4 hours.
Do not apply Acyclovir cream for cold sores inside your eyes, mouth, or vagina. It is recommended to use the cream for the treatment of cold sores for around 4 days. Make sure you take Valtrex by mouth and swallow the tablet with a glass of water.
Follow your doctor’s advice and Valcyclovir treatment plan. Elderly adults over 65 of age should drink more water while taking Acyclovir particularly if they have kidney problems.
For severe initial genital herpes outbreaks, your healthcare provider may prescribe taking Valacyclovir treatment for a longer period. For recurrent genital herpes, a typical dose of Valacyclovir treatment is 500 mg twice a day for three days.
If you forget to take the right dose of the medicine, take the missed dose immediately as you realize. If you realize that you missed a dose of antiviral medication at the time of your next dose, skip the missed one and continue with the right dose.
Taking the two doses together can be a high dose so don’t do that. Do not take a high dose of Valacyclovir until your doctor says. Do not decrease or increase the dosage of Valacyclovir on your own, always talk to your doctor before doing so.
Usually, Valacyclovir is not harmful when taken in the right dosage but taking too much medication or getting overdosed, can make you sick, vomit, agitated, and, hallucinate. Always take Valacyclovir as prescribed by your doctor. Do not let anyone else use your medicine even if they experience the same symptoms.
Acyclovir (Zovirax) for cold sores and genital herpes
Zovirax is another brand name for Acyclovir medication that is used to treat cold sores/herpes labialis and genital herpes. It may be used as it is or in combination with other medications. The effectiveness and safety of Zovirax are not known in children younger than 12 years of age.
Common side effects of Zovirax include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, unwell feeling, headache, and painful mouth while taking Acyclovir buccal tablets. Usually, the common side effects are tolerable. Let your healthcare provider know if any of these common side effects bother you and do not disappear within a few days.
Serious side effects of Zovirax include ear bruising, little or no urination, painful urination, tiredness, swelling in feet and ankles, and shortness of breath. Seek immediate help if you experience any of these symptoms.
Acyclovir Clinical studies
In the initial genital herpes double-blind, placebo-controlled study after the oral administration of Zovirax, it significantly reduced the duration of lesion healing and acute infection. Data presented by many clinical studies showed a statistically significant impact on preventing cold sores lesion development and lesion healing.
Placebo-controlled studies of Zovirax for cold sores demonstrated that the extent of pain and new lesion development was significantly reduced in some groups of patients.
Two largest Valacyclovir studies, placebo-controlled trials of herpes labialis treatment intended to test the hypothesis that the development of cold sore lesions could be blocked with oral medication when taken early right at the first sign or first symptoms. Both of these studies showed similar outcomes in favor of Valacyclovir for preventing cold sore lesion development.
Moreover, no changes in growth rate, health, hematology, and clinical chemistry measurements happened that could be certainly attributed to Acyclovir dosing.
Risk and drug interactions associated with Acyclovir medications
Drug interactions may alter the way Valacyclovir or Acyclovir medications work for a particular health condition and also increase the chances of serious side effects. Sticking to the instructions given by your healthcare provider and taking the right dosage can reduce the possibility of adverse effects of Acyclovir medication.
If you are allergic to Acyclovir or Valacyclovir don’t take any brand of these medications including Ziromax and Valtrex. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medication’s ingredient. Discuss with your doctor before taking Acyclovir if you have a weakened immune system, liver problems, kidney problems, or HIV/AIDS.
To prevent any possible drug interactions talk to your doctor about any kind of vitamins, supplements, and other drugs you are using. Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medications including Probenecid, Cimetidine, Foscarnet, Methotrexate, Pentamidine, Tacrolimus, Cyclosporin, and Aminoglycosides.
Typically, Acyclovir and Valacyclovir are not prescribed for pregnant women. So, if you are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant, or breastfeeding your little one, tell your doctor before taking Acyclovir. Your healthcare provider can weigh the risk based on your condition and determine if taking Acyclovir is worth it or not.
Repeated or accidental overdoses of oral Acyclovir or Valacyclovir medication over several days is associated with gastrointestinal effects such as vomiting and nausea and neurological effects such as confusion and headache. Stop taking Valacyclovir, or talk to your doctor in case you get overdosed.
Talk to your healthcare provider before you initiate treatment with Acyclovir medication
Antiviral medications like Acyclovir and Valacyclovir do not directly kill the herpes simplex virus or eradicate it from your body. That means cold sores can not be cured completely with Acyclovir medications. Cold sores can only be treated with the right dosing to clear the symptoms.
Generally, all forms of Acyclovir medication are well-studied and extremely safe. It has rare and mild side effects, upsetting just a few patients. Taking Acyclovir and Valacyclovir is also quite safe for the liver and other organs that are usually affected by other medications.
However, it is vital to consult your healthcare provider before taking Valacyclovir, Acyclovir, or Zovirax for the treatment of oral sores, cold sores, or genital herpes. Particularly if you have an HIV infection or any health condition that leads to a weakened immune system.