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Zovirax

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Zovirax (Acyclovir) is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lip, and genitals.


Drug Name

Zovirax (Acyclovir)

Drug Uses

Zovirax is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lip, and genitals; herpes zoster (shingles); and chickenpox. It does not cure herpes infections but decreases pain and itching and promotes healing. Topical Zovirax does not prevent the recurrence of sores but may decrease pain and itching if applied when the earliest symptoms first appear. Oral Zovirax decreases the frequency and severity of recurrent sores, but it is used only by people with severe herpes infections because of possible adverse effects. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How Taken

Treatment with Zovirax topical should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (e.g. tingling, burning, blisters). Wash your hands before and after applying Zovirax topical. Wear a glove or a finger cot or use an applicator (e.g. cotton swab) when applying Zovirax topical to avoid spreading the virus to other body parts and to other people. Apply enough ointment to cover the lesion(s) completely. A one-half inch ribbon of ointment should cover approximately 4 square inches of surface area. Avoid getting this medication in the eyes. Zovirax topical is usually applied every 3 hours, six times a day for seven days. Follow your doctor's instructions. Use Zovirax topical for the full amount of time prescribed, even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may start to improve before the infection is completely treated. Lesions caused by herpes viruses should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Wearing loose clothing may help to prevent irritation of the lesions.

Drug Class and Mechanism

Viral illnesses differ from bacterial infections in that viruses are not living organisms, but rather take over living cells and reproduce themselves, often at the expense of the host cell. Acyclovir is an antiviral drug which acts against the Herpes viruses, including herpes simplex 1 and 2 (cold sores and genital herpes), varicella-zoster (shingles and chicken pox), and the Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis). Acyclovir inhibits the replication of viral DNA needed to reproduce itself. Virally infected cells absorb more acyclovir than normal cells and convert more of it to an active form which prolongs its antiviral activity where it is most needed.

Missed Dose

Apply it as soon as you remember and apply further doses at your regular interval (e.g., every 3 hours) until you go to bed. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Storage

Store below 25 degrees C. Do not refrigerate.