Why is this medicine prescribed?
Ophthalmic acyclovir is used to treat an infection of the eye caused by herpes simplex virus. Acyclovir is in a class of antiviral medications called synthetic nucleoside analogues. It works by stopping the spread of the herpes virus in the eye.
Are there other uses for this medicine?
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Ophthalmic acyclovir comes as an eye ointment to apply to the eyes. It is usually applied five times a day (about every 3 hours while awake) until the eye heals, and then 3 times a day for another 7 days. Apply acyclovir eye ointment at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use acyclovir eye ointment exactly as directed. Your doctor will tell you when you can start using ophthalmic acyclovir 3 times a day. Do not use more or less of it, or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
You should expect your symptoms to improve during your treatment. Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or do not go away, or if you develop other problems with your eyes during your treatment.
To use the eye ointment, follow these instructions:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Use a mirror or have someone else apply the ointment.
- Avoid touching the tip of the tube against your eye or anything else. The ointment must be kept clean.
- Tilt your head forward slightly.
- Holding the tube between your thumb and index finger, place the tube as near as possible to your eyelid without touching it.
- Brace the remaining fingers of that hand against your cheek or nose.
- With the index finger of your other hand, pull the lower lid of your eye down to form a pocket.
- Place a 1 cm (about a 1/2 inch) strip of ointment into the pocket made by the lower lid and the eye.
- Gently close your eyes and keep them closed for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the medication to be absorbed.
- Replace and tighten the cap right away.
- Wipe off any excess ointment from your eyelids and lashes with a clean tissue. Wash your hands again.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking acyclovir,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to acyclovir, valacyclovir (Valtrex), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in acyclovir ophthalmic ointment. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using ophthlamic acyclovir, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra ointment to make up for a missed dose.
What should I do in case of overdose?
If someone swallows acyclovir ophthalmic ointment, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What side effects can this medicine cause?
Ophthalmic acyclovir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- eye stinging
- red, swollen, or itchy eyelids
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- hives, itching, rash, swelling of the eyes, face, lips, mouth, throat, or tongue
- new or worsening red, watery eyes, eye sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or pain around the eye
Ophthalmic acyclovir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p ) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.