Medical Q&As

Shingles - trying to conceive?

I have been diagnosed with shingles and am taking the medication for it at present. Since I am currently trying for a baby should I use contraceptives for a while until the medication leaves my system?

I don’t think it will be necessary for you to use contraception because the half-life of the antiviral drugs used for treating shingles is quite short. The term “half-life” refers to the time it takes for the body to inactivate half the amount of substance ingested. In the case of acyclovir, one of the commonly prescribed treatments for shingles, the half-life is approximately 2.4 hours. The drug level peaks in the bloodstream approximately two hours after administration and 75% of the drug is eliminated within 5 hours. These figures would take longer if there was any impairment of renal or liver function. In summary, since the half-life is short there would not be any significant residue of drug in your system after completing your course of treatment. Therefore it would not constitute a potential risk to a subsequent pregnancy.