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Acyclovir And Pregnancy

Acyclovir and Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Guide for Expecting Mothers

Acyclovir is an antiviral medication commonly used to treat herpes infections, including genital herpes and chickenpox. It works by preventing the virus from multiplying and spreading. While acyclovir is generally safe for use during pregnancy, there are certain considerations that expectant mothers should be aware of.

Safety of Acyclovir During Pregnancy

Studies have shown that acyclovir does not appear to increase the risk of birth defects or other adverse pregnancy outcomes when taken as directed during the first trimester. However, there is limited data on the safety of acyclovir use in the second and third trimesters.

First Trimester

  • Acyclovir is considered safe for use in the first trimester to treat active herpes infections.
  • It may help prevent the transmission of herpes from mother to baby during childbirth.
  • The recommended dosage is 800 mg five times daily for 7-10 days.

Second and Third Trimesters

  • The safety of acyclovir use in the second and third trimesters is less well-established.
  • It is generally recommended to avoid using acyclovir during these periods unless the potential benefits outweigh the risks.
  • If acyclovir is deemed necessary, it should be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration.

Dosage and Administration

  • The dosage and frequency of acyclovir administration will vary depending on the indication and the stage of pregnancy.
  • It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully and to complete the full course of treatment.
  • Acyclovir is typically taken orally in tablet or liquid form.

Potential Side Effects

  • Common side effects of acyclovir include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache.
  • More serious side effects, such as kidney problems and liver damage, are rare.
  • If any side effects occur, it is important to inform the doctor promptly.

Monitoring During Pregnancy

  • Pregnant women taking acyclovir should be monitored closely for any potential side effects.
  • Regular blood tests may be performed to check kidney and liver function.
  • If any concerns arise, the doctor may adjust the dosage or discontinue the medication.

Alternatives to Acyclovir

In some cases, alternative antiviral medications may be considered for pregnant women with herpes infections. These include:

  • Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
  • Famciclovir (Famvir)

These medications have similar efficacy to acyclovir but may have different safety profiles during pregnancy.

Prevention of Herpes Transmission

  • Pregnant women with herpes should take precautions to prevent transmission to their baby.
  • This includes avoiding vaginal delivery if the mother has an active herpes infection.
  • Cesarean section may be recommended to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Antiviral medications can also be used to suppress the virus and reduce the likelihood of transmission.


Acyclovir is generally safe for use during the first trimester of pregnancy to treat active herpes infections. However, its safety in the second and third trimesters is less well-established. Pregnant women considering acyclovir should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor. Close monitoring is essential to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby. Alternative antiviral medications may be considered in certain cases. By following the doctor’s instructions and taking appropriate precautions, pregnant women with herpes can minimize the risk of transmission to their babies and protect their own health.

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