Acyclovir comes as a tablet, a capsule, and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It also comes as a delayed-release buccal tablet to apply to the upper gum of the mouth. The tablets, capsules, and suspension are usually taken with or without food two to five times a day for 5 to 10 days, starting as soon as possible after your symptoms begin. When acyclovir is used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes, it is usually taken two to five times a day for up to 12 months. The delayed-release buccal tablet is usually applied with a dry finger as a one-time dose within 1 hour after itching, redness, burning or tingling cold sore symptoms begin but before the cold sore appears. Take or use acyclovir at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take or use acyclovir exactly as directed. Do not take or use more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not chew, crush, suck, or swallow the delayed-release buccal tablets. Drink plenty of liquids, if you have a dry mouth while using the delayed-release buccal tablets.
To use buccal acyclovir, follow these steps:
- Find the area on the upper gum above your left and right incisor teeth (the teeth just to the left and right of your two front teeth).
- With dry hands, remove one delayed-release tablet from the container.
- Gently apply the tablet to the upper gum area as high as it will go on your gum above one of your incisor teeth on the side of your mouth with the cold sore. Do not apply it to the inside of the lip or cheek.
- Hold the tablet in place for 30 seconds.
- If the tablet does not stick to your gum or if it sticks to your cheek or the inside of your lip, reposition it to stick to your gum. Leave the tablet in place until it dissolves.
- Do not interfere with the placement of the tablet. Check to see if the tablet is still in place after eating, drinking, or rinsing your mouth.
If the delayed-release buccal tablet comes off within the first 6 hours of application, reapply the same tablet. If it still will not stick, then apply a new tablet. If you accidentally swallow the tablet within the first 6 hours of application, drink a glass of water and place a new tablet on your gum. If the tablet falls off or is swallowed 6 or more hours after application, do not apply a new tablet until your next regular time.
Avoid the following while you are using acyclovir buccal delayed-release tablet:
- Do not chew gum, touch, or press the buccal tablet after it has been applied.
- Do not wear upper dentures.
- Do not brush your teeth until it dissolves. If your teeth need to be cleaned while the tablet is in place, rinse the mouth gently.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Your symptoms should improve during your treatment with acyclovir. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
Take or use acyclovir until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking acyclovir too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated or may become more difficult to treat. The delayed-release buccal tablet is applied as a one-time dose.