Zovirax is an antiviral medicine used to treat shingles lesions and nerve pain, genital herpes, and chicken pox. Try taking this medicine with food if it bothers your stomach.
Zovirax is a prescription medication used to treat infections caused by the varicella-zoster and herpes viruses, such as shingles, genital herpes, and chickenpox. Zovirax belongs to a group of drugs called nucleoside analogues, which work by stopping the spread of herpes virus in the body.
Zovirax comes in a tablet, capsule, and oral suspension (liquid) form, and is to be taken 2 to 5 times a day depending on what is being treated. Zovirax can be taken with or without food.
Zovirax comes in topical ointment and cream forms. The cream is to be applied 5 times daily for 4 days, and the ointment is applied 6 times per day for 7 days.
Zovirax is available as an injection to be injected into the vein by a healthcare provider.
Common side effects of Zovirax tablet, capsule, and suspension include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Common side effects of Zovirax cream and ointment include dry, cracked lips and dry skin, and general skin irritation at site of application.
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Zovirax Cautionary Labels
Uses of Zovirax
- Zovirax capsule, tablet, oral suspension, and injectable are prescription medications used to treat infections caused by the varicella-zoster and herpes viruses. Infections include chickenpox, genital herpes, and cold sores.
- Zovirax ointment is a prescription medication used to treat genital herpes and in certain herpes simplex virus infections in patients with lowered immunity (immunocompromised).
- Zovirax cream is a prescription medication used to treat herpes labialis (cold sores) in those 12 years of age and older.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
For more information on this medication choose from the list of selections below.
Zovirax Drug Class
Zovirax is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Zovirax
- Common side effects of oral Zovirax include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache.
- Common side effects of injectable Zovirax include nausea, vomiting, and itching at site of injection.
- Zovirax is well-tolerated medication.
- The most common skin-related side effects are dry or cracked lips, flakiness or dryness of skin, a burning or stinging feeling, or itching of the skin at site of application.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist about any concerns about this medication.
Tell your doctor about any side effect that is severe or does not go away.
This is not a complete list of side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take probenecid (Probalan).
This is not a complete list of Zovirax drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
- Zovirax should be used with caution if you have neurologic (nerve), kidney, liver, or electrolyte abnormalities, or if you have significant hypoxia (low levels of oxygen in the body).
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome (TTP/HUS) has occurred in patients with weakened immune systems. TTP/HUS is a serious blood disorder that occurs with worsening kidney function.
- Do not take this medication if you are allergic to Zovirax (acyclovir), valacyclovir, or to any of its ingredients.
- Do not use if you are allergic to Zovirax (acyclovir), Valtrex (also known as valacyclovir), or any of the ingredients in this medication.
Zovirax Food Interactions
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Zovirax there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet.
Before you start using Zovirax, tell your doctor if you are:
- have kidney problems
- pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding
- allergic to Zovirax or any other medication
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Zovirax and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Zovirax falls into category B. There are no well-done studies that have been done in humans with Zovirax. But in animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.
Zovirax and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Zovirax is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.
- Take Zovirax exactly as prescribed.
- Zovirax comes in a tablet, capsule, and oral suspension form, and is to be taken 2 to 5 times a day with or without food.
This medication is available in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare professional.
- Zovirax cream is most effective when used early, at the start of a cold sore. For best results, apply the cream at the first sign of a cold sore (such as tingle, redness, bump, or itch).
- Wash your hands before using Zovirax.
- Apply Zovirax to clean, dry skin.
- Apply a layer of Zovirax to cover only the cold sore or cover only the area of tingling (or other symptoms) before the cold sore appears.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after applying Zovirax. This should remove any medication left on the hands.
- Use only on your affected skin.
- Do not swallow Zovirax ointment or cream. Do not apply to the eyes, inside the mouth or nose, or on unaffected skin.
- Do NOT use Zovirax cream for genital herpes. Zovirax ointment may be prescribed to treat genital herpes, however.
- Do not cover the cold sore area with a bandage or dressing unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
- Do not apply another type of skin product (for example, cosmetics, sun screens, or lip balms) or other skin medication to the cold sore area while using ayclovir ointment or cream unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
- Avoid irritation of the cold sore area while using Zovirax ointment.
- Do not bathe, shower, or swim right after applying Zovirax ointment. This could wash off the medicine.
If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Zovirax at the same time.
Zovirax comes in a tablet, capsule, and oral suspension form, and is to be taken 2 to 5 times a day with or without food.
This medication is additionally available in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare professional.
This medication also comes as an ointment and cream forms. The cream is to be applied 5 times daily for 4 days, and the ointment is applied 6 times per day for 7 days.
If you take too much Zovirax, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.
If Zovirax is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.