Acycovir is one of the most common prescription remedies for a cold sore, and like any medication, it has its pros and cons. It is very effective at getting rid of and preventing cold sores, but only if it is used a short time after symptoms appear. This treatment is only available by prescription, but many health insurance plans will cover it. Also, patients do not need to worry about many side effects or drug interactions when taking acyclovir for a cold sore, and it is considered to be safe for young children to use.
When taking acyclovir, a patient's symptoms will often clear up within a few days. Some studies also have shown this medication can help prevent frequent cold sore outbreaks, if taken daily. Since it helps stop viral shedding, or reproduction, acyclovir can also help prevent the spread of the virus from one person to another.
For acyclovir for a cold sore to be effective, however, it must be taken as soon as possible. Most medical professionals recommend that patients begin using this medication no more than three days after symptoms develop. If a patient begins taking it after that point, then it may take much longer for the cold sore to disappear.
In most areas, acyclovir is only legally available by prescription, which means that an individual visit a medical professional to get it. He must then fill the prescription at a pharmacy. Besides the cost of visiting the healthcare provider, the cost of the medication is often quite expensive. These costs, however, are often covered by health insurance plans. Acyclovir is also considered to be a relatively safe medication, even for small children.
There are very few side effects to this drug, and they are typically mild, although they can be uncomfortable. These side effects can vary depending on what type of acyclovir a patient uses: a topical medication or an oral one. Topical ointments containing this compound can cause redness, itching, burning, or stinging in the area. Oral pills, on the other hand, can cause headaches and mild gastrointestinal problems, like nausea and vomiting.
There are also very few dangerous drug interactions with this medication. Individuals taking certain epilepsy medications, like phenytoin or fosphenytoin, should consult a medical professional before using acyclovir. Also, certain medications used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS may also cause a dangerous reaction when mixed with this medication.