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ZOVIRAX CAPSULES PATIENT INFORMATION ON ACYCLOVIR USE, EFFICACY AND SIDE EFFECTS

Executive Summary

What Should I Know About Zovirax (Acyclovir) Capsules? Zovirax Capsules can provide substantial relief from genital herpes in most patients. If this is your first episode of genital herpes, your doctor has prescribed a single course of Zovirax Capsules to shorten your illness. If you have recurrent genital herpes, you and your doctor will decide whether short-term or longer-term therapy is more appropriate. If your doctor has instructed you to take Zovirax Capsules for five days for each recurrence (short-term therapy), the medication should be started as early as possible to achieve the best results. It is important that you learn to recognize the early symptoms of an infection, such as tingling, itching or pain, so that you can begin to take Zovirax Capsules before the infection has a chance to develop fully. If you have frequent recurrences Zovirax Capsules can greatly reduce the number of attacks, and, in many cases, completely prevent them while you continue to take the medication (longer-term therapy). To accomplish this, Zovirax Capsules must be taken by mouth every day, without interruption, but only for as long as your doctor tells you. The daily dosage prescribed varies from patient to patient; do not take more or less than your doctor prescribes and do not share your medication with others. Zovirax does not eliminate inactive (latent) virus in your body. Thus you are likely to experience recurrences when you stop taking your medication and, compared to your disease history, your first recurrence following long-term therapy may be more severe than usual. Zovirax Capsules have been proven to prevent or reduce recurrences in hundreds of patients with genital herpes. If for some reason Zovirax Capsules do not work like this for you, please contact your doctor. Do Zovirax Capsules Cause Side Effects? As you would expect from any medication, Zovirax Capsules may cause side effects. The known side effects generally occur infrequently and are usually not serious. The most common side effects that patients reported during clinical studies were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and headache. The effects were generally mild and did not requre their medication to be stopped. If you have any prolonged, severe or troubling problems, however, contact your doctor promptly. Studies are underway to try to find answers about the long-term effects of Zovirax Capsules. These include reproductive and genetic studies. Preliminary information from these studies indicates that such effects do not occur in people at recommended doses of the medication. One of the areas under investigation concerns the possible effect of Zovirax Capsules on sperm production. In laboratory experiments in some animals, very high doses of Zovirax caused a decrease in sperm production. Information available at this time indicates that this does not occur in people taking Zovirax at recommended doses for up to six months. Therefore the fertility of a male receiving Zovirax is not likely to be changed. Ongoing studies are examining the effect of Zovirax on chromosomes, the material in living cells that determines each individual's physical characteristics. When very large amounts of Zovirax were studied in test tube and animal experiments, Zovirax caused chromosome breakage in some of the tests. Some other medications currently on the market also cause chromosomal breaks, and the significance of this finding is unknown.(FOOTNOTE) Exerpted from patient information brochure developed by Burroughs Wellcome for distribution by pharmacists to patients.(END FOOT)

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