Acyclovir eye ointment

What is acyclovir eye ointment?

Acyclovir eye ointment is used to treat corneal inflammation of the eye (keratitis) caused by the herpes simplex pathogen. The active ingredient contained in it inhibits the virus from multiplying and thus enables healing.
Herpes infections can develop in different parts of the body and are usually easy to treat. With a herpes infection of the eye, without treatment, in the worst case scenario, there is a risk of loss of eyesight or of the inflammation spreading to the brain.

Is acyclovir available without a prescription?

Acyclovir is not available without a prescription.The drug should only be used when a medical indication has been established by a doctor.
It is therefore only available in a pharmacy with a prescription from a doctor.

When should I use acyclovir eye ointment?

The indications for acyclovir eye ointment are diseases of the eye caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus.
Most often, inflammation of the cornea occurs, which is located in front of the pupil and has an important function for clear vision. A corneal inflammation can make itself felt as pain and itching of the eye.

For given indications, treatment with acyclovir eye ointment is important as it can lead to serious complications without it.

Read our articles about this

  • Causes of ocular herpes and
  • Symptoms of ocular herpes

How does acyclovir work?

Aciclovir eye ointment contains the name-giving active ingredient acyclovir. This is a so-called antiviral drug. It fights the herpes simplex pathogen.

This is a virus that attacks cells, reproduces in them and ultimately destroys them. The newly created virus particles infect new cells again, so that the inflammation spreads further. In the event of an infection of the eye, this can even lead to the destruction of the cornea, which in the worst case can lead to blindness of the eye.

The active ingredient acyclovir starts with the herpes simplex reproduction cycle and inhibits it. Restricting the replication of the virus by the antiviral agent enables the body's own defense system to break down infected cells and thereby contain and overcome the inflammation.

Side effects of acyclovir

As with any drug, the use of acyclovir eye ointment can cause side effects.
Most often, a slight burning sensation occurs shortly after applying the ointment, but this usually subsides within a few seconds to minutes.
In isolated cases, there may also be a superficial inflammatory reaction of the conjunctiva adjacent to the cornea.
In addition, superficial punctiform corneal defects can occur, which is referred to as superficial punctate kereatitis.

These side effects and consequential damage usually heal, so that treatment with acyclovir eye ointment does not have to be stopped prematurely.

Generally speaking, the doctor who prescribed the ointment should be consulted if any side effects are noticed.
Stopping the medication on your own without consulting your doctor is not recommended.

What interactions are possible when taking acyclovir?

Interactions can occur when several drugs are taken at the same time. This can change the effects and side effects. In addition, there may be interactions between drugs and other substances such as alcohol.

When using acyclovir eye ointment, only a tiny fraction of the active ingredient gets into the bloodstream, so that interactions are as good as impossible.
However, there should be an interval of at least 15 minutes between simultaneous treatment with other eye ointments or drops, with the acyclovir eye ointment being applied last.

Basically, the doctor should always be informed of all medications that you are taking, even if they were purchased without a prescription.

What should you watch out for while taking acyclovir?

When using acyclovir eye ointment, it should be noted that its fatty ingredients can cause temporary impairment of vision. Therefore, you should behave especially carefully when operating machines, working without a secure footing and in traffic. If you notice impaired eyesight, you should therefore not participate in road traffic.

In addition, the ability to react can be impaired even when used as intended.

Furthermore, when using acyclovir eye ointment, it should be noted that contact lens wearers should not use the contact lenses for the duration of the application.

When should acyclovir not be used?

A clear contraindication is hypersensitivity to the ingredients.
Since the ointment contains only petrolatum in addition to the active ingredient acyclovir, allergic or hypersensitivity reactions are not to be expected. A slight burning sensation after use, which lasts only a few minutes at most, is not uncommon and should not be interpreted as a counter-sign.

In addition, acyclovir eye ointment should not be given to diseases of the eye that are not caused by a herpes virus, such as conjunctivitis caused by bacteria.

The dosage of acyclovir

The dosage of acyclovir eye ointment depends on the individual amount to be used as well as the interval and frequency of use.

Unless otherwise prescribed by the doctor, an approximately 1 cm long cord is inserted into the conjunctival sac of the eye five times a day at intervals of four hours. If both eyes are affected, it is used on both sides accordingly.

The dosage information is identical for all age groups.

The dosage of the active ingredient acyclovir in the eye ointment is usually 30 milligrams per gram.

How long can I use acyclovir?

How long you can and should use the aciclovir eye ointment is determined by the doctor who prescribed the drug.

Treatment of the inflammation in the eye should be started as early as possible for the healing process to take place as quickly as possible. As a rule, the drug should be used until the inflammation has completely healed and for three days after that.

Since the healing process can usually not be predicted exactly and also depends very much on the correct and regular use of the acyclovir eye ointment, a check-up should be carried out after about two weeks, during which the doctor determines the further duration of use.

Cost of acyclovir eye ointment

The price for a tube of acyclovir eye ointment is between about 18 and 22 euros. The price difference between the various manufacturers of the product is rather small.

Acyclovir eye ointment can only be purchased after a doctor's prescription and the costs are then usually covered for the most part by both private and statutory health insurance.

Alternatives to acyclovir eye ointment

If there is a clear infection with the herpes simplex virus, there is no reasonable alternative to using a virostat, whereby an acyclovir eye ointment is often the first choice. There are eye ointments from different manufacturers that do not differ in terms of the active ingredient.

Learn more about the alternatives to acyclovir

  • Antiviral eye drops and ointments
  • Zovirax eye ointment

An alternative to using an eye ointment can be acyclovir eye drops. The active ingredient is also available in other forms such as tablets. If the cornea of ​​the eye is only affected, however, drugs such as acyclovir eye ointment are usually only used directly on the eye.

Can acyclovir be used during breastfeeding and pregnancy?

Aciclovir eye ointment should normally not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
This is not because damage is to be expected, but because there is insufficient experience with the use of acyclovir eye ointment during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

If the expected therapeutic benefit is greater than the very low risks due to pregnancy or breastfeeding, the drug should be used.