Acyclovir in Pregnancy: Is It Safe for Me and My Baby ?

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When it comes to treating viral infections caused by HSV (herpes simplex virus) or varicella-zoster virus, acyclovir is one of the most popular medicines. But one thing that many people question is, if it can be consumed during pregnancy. Does it have any side effects? Or can it affect my baby in some way or the other? Any sort of medicine with side effects is not recommended during first trimester of pregnancy. When concerned in the second and third trimester of pregnancy, there is no scientific evidences which state any birth defects in the baby.

A Guide for Use of Acyclovir in Pregnancy

acyclovir

Acyclovir

This antiviral medicine is consumed for the prevention or treatment of shingles, chicken pox, genital herpes and cold sores. It is available in the form of topical ointments, tablets and intravenous injections. However, people with weak immune system may also be recommended this medicine. Its consumption can help to reduce the impact of the viral attack.

Acyclovir helps in reducing the severity of herpes and chickenpox virus and also reduces the length and severity of the outbreaks. Not only this but it also helps to lessen the pain and heals the sores quickly. It will prove to be even more effective if you take it when the first outbreak happens.

Is it safe to be consumed during pregnancy?

Yes, acyclovir is considered to be absolutely safe and it can be taken during pregnancy. However, if acyclovir is taken during the first trimester of pregnancy, it may lead to certain complications in the pregnancy. In addition to this, it may even cause congenital disabilities in the baby. Thus, most often, this medicine is prescribed only in the later stages of pregnancy. Make sure that you do not use it unless a registered medical practitioner has recommended it to you.

Considering preterm birth, miscarriage, low birth weight in babies or stillbirth, there are no scientific evidences stating that its consumption leads to any of these.

Is acyclovir safe for baby?

It is during the first trimester of pregnancy when the baby’s internal organs get formed. If any sort of medicine with potential side effects is consumed during this time, there are chances that it may lead to birth defects in babies. But as far as its consumption in the second or third trimester of pregnancy is concerned, there are no scientific evidences which state any probable birth defects in the baby.

Apart from this, many moms-to-be are worried if the consumption of acyclovir can cause behaviour or learning issues in a child. however, there is no scientific evidence that states the consumption of acyclovir leading to any behaviour or learning problems in a child.

Are there any side effects of acyclovir?

Although it is considered to be safe but sometimes, it may lead to some mild to severe side effects in people. Some of the side effects are listed below:

Mild side effects

Severe side effects

  • Chest pain
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Hallucinations or confusion
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Change in skin colour
  • Allergic reaction on the skin such as itching or swelling on the face, lips and tongue etc.

What is the recommended dosage of acyclovir for pregnant women?

Well, the dosage depends on the severity of the condition. Depending on the condition, you may be prescribed 200 mg 4 to 5 times a day or 400 mg three times a day. Similarly, you may be recommended to take medicine for a week, 10 days or even longer. You must ensure that you do not exceed or take less than the recommended dosage, which is why it is also important to consult a doctor before taking the same.

Are there any precautions to take while taking acyclovir during pregnancy?

Listed below are the precautions that one can follow in order to reduce the side effects of the medicine:

  • Increase your fluid intake by drinking plenty of water while you are taking this medicine. This will reduce your chances of experiencing any side effects.
  • Inform your doctor beforehand if you have any sort of kidney, liver or nerve abnormality.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dosage. In case you do, seek medical help immediately.
  • Refrain from taking the medicine in case you go through any allergic reaction after taking the medicine.

Conclusion

We have discussed all the potential side effects of acyclovir during pregnancy for both, the baby as well as the mom-to-be. while taking the medicine, you must ensure that you don not exceed the recommended dosage. Also, it is important that you only take the medicine if it is prescribed by a doctor. Every mother wants a healthy child and for that, you have to must exercise certain precautions.

References

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0801/p320a.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8308511

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women and Healthy Babies!!

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