Acyclovir ointment (On the skin)


Acyclovir (ay-SYE-kloe-vir)

Treats skin disorders caused by the herpes virus, including genital herpes.

Brand Name(s)


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to apply and how often. Do not use more medicine or apply it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This ointment is for use on your skin or genitals (vagina or penis) only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you use this medicine. Use a rubber glove when you apply the medicine. If someone else is putting this medicine on you, he or she should wear a rubber glove.
  • Use this ointment as soon as possible after you notice the beginning of a herpes sore (pain, burning, blisters, or itching).
  • Acyclovir ointment may be put on the herpes sores every 3 hours, 6 times daily for 7 days, unless your doctor tells you differently. Apply enough ointment to cover all the sores.

If a dose is missed:

  • Apply a dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and apply a regular dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine at room temperature, away from heat and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor how to dispose of the medicine container and any leftover or expired medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use any other medicine on your herpes sores unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • Acyclovir will not stop the spread of herpes during sex. Avoid having sex while you have herpes sores.
  • Even if you have no signs of a herpes infection, it is still possible to spread the virus to others during sex. Talk with your doctor about ways to keep from spreading the virus.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Itching, redness, swelling, burning, or stinging of your skin where the ointment is applied.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 11/18/2015

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.