Contains the active ingredient aciclovir
Consumer Medicine Information
What is in this leaflet
Read this leaflet carefully before taking your medicine.
This leaflet answers some common questions about aciclovir. It does not contain all
the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or
The information in this leaflet was last updated on the date listed on the last page.
More recent information on this medicine may be available.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist:
if there is anything you do not understand in this leaflet,
if you are worried about taking your medicine, or
to obtain the most up-to-date information.
You can also download the most up to date leaflet from www.apotex.com.au.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you using
this medicine against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
Pharmaceutical companies cannot give you medical advice or an individual diagnosis.
Keep this leaflet with your medicine. You may want to read it again.
What this medicine is used for
The name of your medicine is APO-Aciclovir. It contains the active ingredient aciclovir.
The 200mg strength is used to
treat genital herpes. It makes an outbreak of genital herpes shorter and less severe
prevent or reduce the number of outbreaks and/or severity of genital herpes in people
who experience them often.
The 800mg strength is used:
to treat shingles, also known as herpes zoster. Shingles is caused by the same virus
which causes chicken pox. It usually involves nerve pain and a blistery rash, limited
to one area of the body. If taken within 72 hours of first getting the rash, aciclovir
makes an outbreak of shingles shorter and less severe
as part of the management program for certain infections in people who have the human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency
syndrome (AIDS). Aciclovir does not cure AIDS or get rid of the HIV virus from your
body, but it may prevent further damage to the immune system by stopping production
of the herpes viruses.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed
for you. Your doctor may have prescribed this medicine for another reason.
This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription.
How it works
Aciclovir belongs to a group of medicines called "anti-virals". It works by stopping
the production of the virus that causes herpes and shingles.
Aciclovir does not get rid of the virus from your body.
There is no evidence that this medicine is addictive.
Use in children
This medicine should not be used in children.
Before you take this medicine
When you must not take it
Do not take this medicine if:
You are hypersensitive to, or have had an allergic reaction to, aciclovir, valaciclovir
or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty
breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of the body,
rash, itching or hives on the skin; fainting; or hay fever-like symptoms.
If you think you are having an allergic reaction, do not take any more of the medicine
and contact your doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department
at the nearest hospital.
The expiry date (EXP) printed on the pack has passed.
The packaging is torn, shows signs of tampering or it does not look quite right.
Before you start to take it
Before you start taking this medicine, tell your doctor if:
1. You have allergies to:
any other medicines
any other substances, such as foods, preservatives or dyes.
2. You have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following:
kidney or liver problems
neurological disorders such as muscle weakness, paralysis, seizures, confusion, etc
an imbalance of electrolytes (salts) in your body
severe lack of oxygen from any part of your body
neurological reactions from a cytotoxic (anti-cancer) medicine.
3. You are currently pregnant or you plan to become pregnant. Do not take this medicine
whilst pregnant until you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved.
4. You are currently breastfeeding or you plan to breastfeed. Do not take this medicine
whilst breastfeeding until you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits
5. You are planning to have surgery or an anaesthetic.
6. You are currently receiving or are planning to receive dental treatment.
7. You are taking or are planning to take any other medicines. This includes vitamins
and supplements that are available from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food
Some medicines may interact with aciclovir. These include:
probenecid, a medicine commonly used to treat gout
cimetidine, used for stomach problems
diuretics, also called fluid tablets
interferon, used to treat multiple sclerosis, hepatitis, leukaemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma
and other diseases
methotrexate given by injection into the spine to treat cancer and leukaemia
mycophenolate mofetil, used by people with organ transplants.
If you are taking any of these you may need a different dose or you may need to take
Other medicines not listed above may also interact with aciclovir.
How to take this medicine
Follow carefully all directions given to you by your doctor. Their instructions may
be different to the information in this leaflet.
How much to take
Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine you should take. This will depend
on your condition and whether you are taking any other medicines.
The doses below may be lower if you have problems with your kidneys.
Do not stop taking your medicine or change your dosage without first checking with
Initial genital herpes
The usual dose is one 200mg tablet every four hours, while awake, for a total of five
tablets daily for ten days.
Recurrent genital herpes
The usual dose is one 200mg tablet three times a day for up to six months.
One 200mg tablet every four hours, while awake, for a total of five tablets daily
for five days.
The usual dose is one 800mg tablet every four hours, while awake, for a total of five
tablets daily for seven days (or up to ten days if your eyes are affected by shingles).
Management of HIV
The usual dose is one 800mg tablet four times a day at six hourly intervals.
How to take it
The tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.
When to take it
Take this medicine at the same time each day. Taking it at the same time each day
will have the best effect and will also help you remember when to take it.
It does not matter if you take it before, with or after food.
How long to take it for
Continue taking your medicine for as long as your doctor tells you.
Make sure you have enough to last over weekends and holidays.
If you forget to take it
If it is almost time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next
dose at the usual time. Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember and then go back
to taking your medicine as you would normally.
Do not take a double dose to make up for missed doses.
This may increase the chance of you experiencing side effects.
If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some
hints to help you remember.
If you take too much (overdose)
If you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much of this medicine, immediately
telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (Tel: 13 11 26 in Australia)
for advice. Alternatively go to the Accident and Emergency Department at your nearest
Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent
If you take too much of this medicine, you may feel or be sick, have a headache and/or
While you are taking this medicine
Things you must do
If you feel that your condition is not improving or is getting worse, see your doctor.
Tell your doctor that you are taking this medicine if:
you are about to be started on any new medicine
you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
you are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
you are about to have any blood tests
you are going to have surgery or are going into hospital.
Your doctor may occasionally do tests on your blood or urine to check for side effects
and see how your kidneys are working. Go to your doctor regularly for a check-up.
Tell any other doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you take
Things you must not do
Give this medicine to anyone else, even if their symptoms seem similar to yours.
Take your medicine to treat any other condition unless your doctor or pharmacist tells
Stop taking your medicine, or change the dosage, without first checking with your
Things to be careful of
Genital herpes and HIV can be transmitted to your partner during sexual activity.
It is important to remember that this medicine will not keep you from transmitting
herpes or HIV to others.
Be careful when driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine affects
Possible side effects
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking
aciclovir or if you have any questions or concerns.
Do not be alarmed by the following lists of side effects. You may not experience any
of them. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious but most
of the time they are not.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following:
stomach problems such as nausea (feeling sick), vomiting (being sick), diarrhoea,
constipation, stomach pain
changes in taste sensation, loss of appetite, weight loss
dizziness/giddiness or headache
increased hair loss
weakness, fatigue, lack of energy, tiredness
aching, leg pains, muscles pains, joint pain, muscle cramps
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following.
These may be serious side effects. You may need medical attention.
depression, agitation, irritability
unusual thoughts or actions, hallucinations (seeing, feeling or hearing things that
are not there)
uncoordinated movements, i.e. unsteady walking
fever, sore throat, swollen glands
blood problems (e.g. feeling tired and weak, fever, frequent infections, unusual bruising
or bleeding or swelling around wounds)
eye problems (inflamed eye).
If you experience any of the following, stop taking your medicine and contact your
doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department at your nearest
These are very serious side effects and you may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation.
yellowing of the skin and/or eyes (jaundice) or other liver problems with a collection
of symptoms which may include: mental confusion, drowsiness, restlessness, itching
kidney problems e.g. too much or too little urine, or pain when urinating, or pain
in the kidneys
chest pain, fast heart beat (palpitations)
losing consciousness or in a coma
signs of a blood clot such as a swollen and painful area in your leg, and swelling
in your foot or ankle.
Other side effects not listed above may occur in some patients.
If you think you are having an allergic reaction to aciclovir, tell your doctor immediately
or go to the Accident and Emergency department at your nearest hospital.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include some or all of the following:
cough, shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing.
swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or other parts of the body
rash, itching or hives on the skin
Storage and disposal
Keep your medicine in its original packaging until it is time to take it.
If you take your medicine out of its original packaging it may not keep well.
Keep your medicine in a cool dry place where the temperature will stay below 25°C.
Do not store your medicine, or any other medicine, in the bathroom or near a sink.
Do not leave it on a window sill or in the car. Heat and dampness can destroy some
Keep this medicine where children cannot reach it.
A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place
to store medicines.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking this medicine or they have passed their expiry
date, your pharmacist can dispose of the remaining medicine safely.
What APO-Aciclovir looks like
APO-Aciclovir 200mg tablets are round, blue, flat-faced, bevel-edged tablets, engraved
"APO" over "200" on one side and the other side plain.
Blister packs of 25, 50 and 90 tablets.*
APO-Aciclovir 800mg tablets are oval, blue, biconvex tablet. Engraved APO partial
bisect 800 on one side, plain on the other side. Blister packs of 35 tablets.
* Not all strengths, pack types and/or pack sizes may be available
Each tablet contains 200mg or 800mg of aciclovir as the active ingredient.
It also contains the following inactive ingredients:
lactose (for the 200mg strength only)
colloidal anhydrous silica
brilliant blue FCF (for the 800mg strength only).
The 200 mg tablets are gluten-free, sucrose-free, tartrazine-free and free of other
The 800 mg tablets are lactose-free, gluten-free, sucrose-free, tartrazine-free and
free of other azo dyes.
Australian Registration Numbers
APO-Aciclovir 200mg tablets:
AUST R 159140.
APO-Aciclovir 800mg tablets:
AUST R 159141.
Apotex Pty Ltd
16 Giffnock Avenue
Macquarie Park NSW 2113
Apotex Pty Ltd is the licensee of the registered trademarks APO and APOTEX from the
registered proprietor, Apotex Inc.
This leaflet was last updated in: