Zovirax scientifically known as Acyclovir is an antiviral prescription medication primarily used to treat infections caused by the herpes virus, including cold sores, shingles, and genital herpes. Acyclovir belongs to a class of antiviral drug called synthetic nucleoside analogues, which work by stopping the spread of the virus in the body.
Acyclovir does not cure herpes or prevent the infection from coming back, but it can reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks. It decreases the severity and length of these outbreaks. It helps the sores heal faster, keeps new sores from forming, and decreases pain/itching. Zovirax has been used effectively to treat herpes symptoms for more than 35 years and continues to be a safe and effective treatment option today.
Uses and Dosage
Zovirax comes in the form of tablets to be used orally by mouth. Zovirax can be taken with or without food, but it should be taken with a full glass of water to prevent kidney damage. It is typically taken two to five times per day for 5-10 days, depending on the condition being treated. Swallow the tablet whole and drink plenty of fluids right after and should not be cut, crushed, or chewed. Follow the instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist.
Typical dosing for Zovirax (acyclovir) depends on the condition being treated. Below are the recommended dosages:
- Shingles: Take 800 mg five times per day for 7-10 days.
- Genital herpes: Take 200 mg five times per day for 10 days.
- Chickenpox: The dose is based on weight and is usually taken for 5 days.
- Children aged 2 to 18 years old: The dose is based on the child’s weight and is usually taken for 5 days.
- Adults: 800 mg four times a day for 5 days.
Common Side Effects of Zovirax (Acyclovir):
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach discomfort
Serious Side Effects of Zovirax (Acyclovir):
- Change in urine output
- Dark urine
- Extreme tiredness
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness
- Mental or mood changes
- Shaky or unsteady movement
- Trouble speaking
- Vision changes
- Yellowish skin
Form and strength
Zovirax (Acyclovir) is available in the following forms and strength:
- 200 mg
- 400 mg
- 800 mg
- 200 mg
- 400 mg
- Zovirax can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Seek medical attention immediately if you have trouble breathing, hives, or swelling of the face or throat.
- People with kidney problems may need to have their dose of Zovirax adjusted. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any kidney problems or are on dialysis.
- Acyclovir can cause neurological side effects such as confusion, agitation, and seizures, especially in people with kidney problems. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor immediately.
- Zovirax should only be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk. Consult your doctor before taking Zovirax if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Acyclovir can interact with other medications, including probenecid and cimetidine. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking before starting Zovirax.
- Zovirax does not cure herpes, and the virus can still be spread even while taking the medication. Avoid sexual contact while symptoms of herpes are present to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Taking too much Acyclovir can cause serious effects, including kidney failure, seizures, and coma. Contact your doctor immediately if you suspect you have taken too much Zovirax.
- Zovirax can cause liver problems in some people. If you have a history of liver problems, talk to your doctor before taking Acyclovir.
- Zovirax can be used to treat certain eye infections caused by the herpes simplex virus. However, it should only be used under the supervision of an eye doctor, as it can cause serious effects if used improperly.
- Elderly patients may be more sensitive to the effects of Zovirax and may experience more side effects. If you are an elderly patient, talk to your doctor before taking Zovirax.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can Acyclovir be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
Consult with a healthcare professional before taking Acyclovir if pregnant or planning to become pregnant or if currently breastfeeding.
How long does it take for Zovirax to work?
The length of time it takes for Zovirax to work can vary depending on the condition being treated. Consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on the duration of treatment.
Can Acyclovir cure herpes?
Acyclovir is not a cure for herpes, but it can help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
Can Zovirax be used to treat genital herpes?
Yes, Zovirax can be used to treat genital herpes caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
What should I do if I miss a dose of Acyclovir?
If you miss a dose of Acyclovir, take it as soon as you remember.
Can Zyloprim be taken with other medications?
Zyloprim can interact with other medications, so tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking.