Zovirax is the brand name for a medication called acyclovir. This is a drug used to treat certain infections that are caused by specific viruses. It’s used to treat the cold sores that can appear around the mouth when a patient has herpes simplex virus, chickenpox, or shingles infections that are caused by herpes zoster. It’s also used for treating herpes outbreaks on the genitals. When people have frequent outbreaks of their sores, this medication can be used to lower the number of flare-ups that happen.

Zovirax isn’t a cure for the infections that are caused by these viruses, but it is an antiviral medication. This drug treats the outbreaks, but the virus itself will keep living in the body. It can help the outbreak to be shorter in duration and less severe. It allows the sores to be healed more quickly and prevents itching and pain. It can also stop new sores from coming up. After the sores heal, it can also help the pain not to remain as long as it would without the medication.

In patients who have a weak immune system, this medication can keep the virus from spreading around the body to other areas and resulting in severe infections. This drug halts a certain protein, and enzyme known as DNA polymerase. This protein is found in the varicella-zoster virus and the herpes simplex virus. When this enzyme is taken away, the virus is unable to copy itself and spread.

Zovirax Forms

This drug comes in a number of different forms. It is available as a capsule, tablet, and oral suspension as well as a cream and an ointment. It’s also available as an injectable solution and as a powder that is reconstituted for an injection. Your doctor will know the best delivery method for your specific problem.

Precautions and Warnings with Zovirax

There are some possible health problems that Zovirax can cause in some cases. There are some patients who are at a higher risk for these problems occurring. There is the risk of blood disorders developing while taking this medication. Patients who have a weakened immune system have a higher risk of this developing. This is a rare complication, but it can be a serious one. You may be monitored with regular blood tests while on this medication to check for these disorders. If you notice that you have bruising, bleeding, confusion, dark urine, lack of energy, diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea, tell your doctor right away.

There is also a risk of developing kidney problems while taking Zovirax. Patients who are 65 or older, have a low level of fluids in the body, or already have kidney problems are at a higher risk. Patients who have problems with kidney function need a lower dose of this medication. It’s important to drink plenty of water while taking Zovirax and to avoid any other medications, such as NSAIDs, that can also cause harm to the kidneys. You may need regular lab tests to check on your kidney function.

If you’re allergic to this medication, tell your doctor, and don’t take it. If you’re allergic to valacyclovir, be sure to tell your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows your full medical history before prescribing this drug. If you’re going to have any type of surgery, tell the medical professional that you take this drug. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to tell the doctor. The doctor can weigh certain risks if you’re pregnant to see whether they’re more important than the gains from taking it. If you’re breastfeeding, a small amount of this drug can go into breast milk, but it’s not likely to cause any harm.

Zovirax Side Effects

There are many side effects that may occur when using this medication. Some side effects only last a few days to a few weeks until the body has gotten used to the medication.

It’s also possible to have a serious allergic reaction to this medication. This could cause you to have difficulty breathing, widespread hives, or swelling in the throat, tongue, lips, or face. If this happens, call for emergency medical help.

Common Side Effects

Some of the most common side effects of Zovirax include:

  • Mild pain on the skin
  • Itching or rash
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • A general feeling of being unwell
  • Low energy
  • Skin redness
  • Flaky skin
  • Cracked or dry lips

Serious Side Effects

If you have more serious symptoms, it’s important to inform your doctor right away or to get emergency medical care if needed. These can include:

  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Tiny red spots underneath the skin
  • Behavioral changes
  • Hallucinations or confusion
  • Kidney problems – shortness of breath, little to no urination, painful urination, ankle or foot swelling, or fatigue

Drug Interactions with Zovirax

There are many drugs that may interact badly with Zovirax. Be sure to tell your doctor about everything that you take, even if it’s an over-the-counter medication or supplement. There are some medications that can cause interactions, and care must be taken with the dosage of the two medications. It’s also important for the doctor to weigh the risks of using both with the benefits of taking them. Some of the medications that can have a negative interaction include:

  • Foscarnet
  • Nitisinone
  • Dichlorphenamide
  • Leflunomide
  • Phenytoin
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Valproic acid

Strengths and Dosages of Zovirax

There are many different ways to take Zovirax. There are oral forms of this medication, IV forms, and topical forms. The injectable solution comes in a strength of 50 mg/mL. The powder that is reconstituted for injection comes in 550 mg per vial and 1,000 mg per vial. The oral suspension comes in 200 mg/5 mL.

The tablet forms come in 400 mg and 800 mg. The capsule is available at a strength of 200 mg. The topical cream comes in a 5% strength, and the topical ointment also comes in a 5% strength.

Injectable solution:50 mg/mL
Powder for reconstitution and injection:500 mg/vial, 1,000 mg/vial
Oral suspension:200 mg/5 mL
Tablet:400 mg, 800 mg
Capsule:200 mg
Topical cream:5%
Topical ointment:5%

Cost of Zovirax in America

Different forms of this drug come with different prices. The topical cream costs about $220. The 200 mg oral capsule costs about $55 for a supply of 25. There are generics, however, and the prices of these forms are far less. The generic of the medication costs about $93 for 60 of the 400 mg tablets. The cost can also be brought down by using a coupon card to get a discount. These cards are free and can be picked up in pharmacies or printed out online. It’s possible to get a steep discount with one of these cards, and they’re easy to use at the checkout.

FAQs of Zovirax

What is Zovirax?

Zovirax is a medication used to treat sores on the mouth and genitals that are caused by certain viruses. It’s an antiviral medication that can’t cure the virus but can help control the symptoms of it.

What is Zovirax used for?

It’s used for cold sores, chickenpox, and shingles flare-ups. It’s a medication that can be taken orally, through an injection, or through a cream or ointment.

How long does a cold sore last with Zovirax?

The median healing time for cold sores treated with this medication is four days.

When did the Zovirax patent expire?

The patents expired during the 1990s. Since that time, there have been other versions of the same active ingredients that are manufactured.

Are there generics available for Zovirax?

Yes, there have long been generics of this medication. The generics cost much less than the name-brand medication.

How long do cold sores last with Zovirax?

You can expect a cold sore to go away in about four days when you use this medication.

How quickly does Zovirax work?

It can heal a cold sore in about four days.

Can you drink alcohol while taking Zovirax?

There isn’t much data about how it interacts with this medication, and avoiding alcohol isn’t a recommendation for those taking it.

Is it okay to take Zovirax while pregnant?

It will be up to your doctor to decide whether you should take it during pregnancy. There may be potential risks, though there is little data about it. Your doctor may decide that the benefits are worth any possible risks. You can generally take it while breastfeeding.

Are there alternatives to Zovirax?

There are a number of other medications that can be used for the bumps and sores caused by certain viruses. These include Valtrex, topical acyclovir generic, Famciclovir, and Denavir.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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