Aciclovir bnf for children
Aciclovir is a medication that is commonly used to treat viral infections such as herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It is an antiviral drug that helps to stop the replication of the virus and therefore slows down the progression of the infection. While aciclovir is commonly used in adults, it is also frequently used in children. However, the dosage guidelines for children differ from those for adults and must be followed carefully to ensure the safe and effective use of the medication.
In the UK, the British National Formulary (BNF) provides guidance for healthcare professionals on safe and effective dosing of medications, including aciclovir. The BNF dosage guidelines for aciclovir in children depend on the child's weight and the condition being treated. The guidelines also take into account the child's renal function and any other medications they may be taking.
It is crucial that healthcare professionals follow the BNF dosage guidelines for aciclovir in children to prevent the risk of adverse reactions such as nephrotoxicity, which can lead to kidney damage. The correct dosage will also ensure that the medication is effective in treating the child's viral infection and that there is no risk of viral resistance to the drug.
Overall, the BNF provides clear and comprehensive guidance on the safe and effective use of aciclovir in children. Healthcare professionals must carefully follow these guidelines, taking into account the individual needs of the child, to ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients.
What is Aciclovir?
Aciclovir is an antiviral medication used primarily to treat herpes simplex virus infections, including genital herpes and cold sores. It may also be used to treat chickenpox and shingles. The medication is available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and topical creams or ointments.
Mechanism of Action
Aciclovir works by inhibiting the replication of the virus. Once it enters the body, it is converted to its active form, which then blocks the viral enzyme that is required for replication. By doing so, it prevents the virus from multiplying and spreading throughout the body.
The dose of aciclovir depends on the condition being treated and the age and weight of the patient. For children, the British National Formulary recommends a starting dose of 20mg/kg/dose, up to a maximum of 800mg per dose, given four times per day. The duration of treatment varies depending on the condition, but generally ranges from 7 to 14 days. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and duration of treatment to ensure the medication is effective.
Why is Aciclovir Prescribed for Children?
Treatment of Viral Infections
Aciclovir is prescribed for children for the treatment of viral infections caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV). These viruses can cause various infections such as cold sores, genital herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. Aciclovir works by stopping the multiplication of the viruses, thus helping to control and shorten the duration of the infection.
Prevention of Viral Infections
In some cases, aciclovir may also be prescribed to children as a preventive measure against viral infections. For example, children who are prone to recurrent cold sores may be prescribed aciclovir to prevent future outbreaks.
Treatment of Immunocompromised Children
Children with weak immune systems may be more susceptible to viral infections. Aciclovir may be given to these children to treat and prevent infections caused by HSV and VZV.
Other Uses of Aciclovir in Children
Apart from treating and preventing viral infections, aciclovir may also be used in children for the treatment of certain skin conditions such as eczema herpeticum, a complication of eczema caused by HSV. Aciclovir may also be used in children with disseminated herpes simplex infection or in those who have undergone bone marrow or organ transplantation.
In conclusion, aciclovir is prescribed for children for the treatment and prevention of viral infections caused by HSV and VZV, especially in immunocompromised children. It is also used for the treatment of certain skin conditions and in children who have undergone transplantation.
Dosage for Treatment of Herpes Simplex Virus Infections
The recommended oral dose of aciclovir for the treatment of herpes simplex virus infections in children is 20mg/kg body weight, up to a maximum of 800mg, four times daily for 5-10 days, depending on the severity of the infection. Children under 1 year of age should receive a reduced dose based on their body weight.
Note: Oral aciclovir is most effective when started as early as possible after the onset of symptoms.
Topical aciclovir cream or ointment can be used for the treatment of herpes simplex virus infections on the skin and mucous membranes. The cream or ointment should be applied every 4 hours during waking hours for 5-10 days, depending on the severity of the infection.
Note: Topical aciclovir may be less effective than oral aciclovir for the treatment of severe herpes simplex virus infections or infections involving the eyes.
Intravenous aciclovir is reserved for the treatment of severe herpes simplex virus infections, such as encephalitis or disseminated infection. The recommended dose for children is 250mg/m2 body surface area, up to a maximum of 10mg/kg, three times daily for 7-10 days.
Note: Intravenous aciclovir should be administered under medical supervision in a hospital setting.
- British National Formulary for Children 2019-2020
- Treatment of herpes simplex virus infections with oral acyclovir. UpToDate. Updated Oct 2019.
Dosage for Treatment of Varicella-Zoster Virus Infections
Children up to 12 years old
The recommended dose of aciclovir for the treatment of varicella-zoster virus infections in children up to 12 years old is 20mg/kg body weight per dose, up to a maximum of four times a day. The duration of treatment is typically 5-7 days, but may vary depending on the severity of the infection and the response to treatment.
Adolescents and Adults
The recommended dose of aciclovir for the treatment of varicella-zoster virus infections in adolescents and adults is 800mg orally five times a day for a total of 7-10 days. Patients with severe or complicated infections may require longer treatment durations or higher doses under close medical supervision.
It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any treatment for varicella-zoster virus infections. Patients should also adhere to the prescribed treatment regimen, even if symptoms improve before completing the full course of treatment, to ensure efficacy and prevent recurrence.
In addition, patients with underlying medical conditions or taking other medications should inform their healthcare provider prior to starting aciclovir treatment to avoid potential drug interactions or adverse effects.