Zovirax (acyclovir) is a drug used to treat herpes infections (including shingles).
What is Zovirax used to treat?
The drug is used to treat:
- herpes of types I and II;
- herpes of newborns;
- herpes zoster.
For the purpose of prevention:
- herpes simplex;
- cytomegalovirus during operations on the bone marrow.
The dosage of the drug is determined by the doctor, based on the condition of the patient, the degree and type of infection, the affected area.
How does it work?
The main active ingredient is acyclovir. When interacting with enzymes, it is converted into acyclovir triphosphate – an active pharmacological substance that blocks the multiplication of viral cells.
The medicine extends its action to varicella-zoster viruses, herpes of the first and second types, it is slightly less effective in cytomegalovirus.
In patients with immunodeficiency, with prolonged use, acyclovir shows a decrease in activity or ceases to work at all.
The medicine is well and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, just as quickly and excreted through the kidneys. The process of withdrawal and absorption is longer in patients with immunodeficiency and renal insufficiency.
Is Zovirax a steroid or antiviral?
This is an antiviral medicine. Hydrocortisone is a steroid that is used to treat cold sores in adults and children at least 6 years old.
How quickly does acyclovir work?
It may take up to 3 days for the drug to bring relief; however, the medicine should be taken until the course is completed. It works best when started within 48 hours of symptom onset.
How long does it take for a cold sore to go away with Zovirax?
Use the drug for no more than 4 days. If you do not feel better after 4 days of treatment, you should consult your doctor. If you forget to use the drug at any time, use it as quickly as you remember.
Is Zovirax the same as acyclovir?
Acyclovir is the generic international name for Zovirax (brand-name). These drugs are analogues that works the same way – block activity from the herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus. The brand-name drugs are more expensive than their generic versions.
How to take acyclovir for herpes?
Take the drug orally, during meals, with a glass of water. Treatment of infections caused by the herpes simplex virus: the recommended dose of the drug is 200 mg 5 times a day every 4 hours, excluding the period of night sleep. The course of treatment is usually 5 days, but it can be extended if a patient has severe primary infections.
Is Zovirax over the counter?
The drug is available over-the-counter (OTC). This means that you do not need a prescription to get it.
Can you use too much Zovirax?
If the patient has impaired absorption or immunodeficiency, a single dose of the drug is 400 mg.
In the prevention of infection for patients with immunodeficiency, take 200 mg every 6 hours.
If the immunodeficiency is pronounced or there is a violation of intestinal absorption, the dose is doubled and the intervals between doses are reduced. As a result, it is necessary to take 400 mg of the drug every 4 hours. In such cases, the course of therapy is limited by the risk of infection.
Children with immunodeficiency over 2 years of age are prescribed “adult” doses. For children under 2 years of age, the dose is halved.
In the presence of chronic renal failure, the dosage is determined by the doctor.
Do not exceed the dosage recommended by your doctor.
How long does acyclovir stay in your system?
The concentration of acyclovir in the body will be reduced every 2.5 to 3.3 hours. The medicine stays in your system for about 22 to 25 hours before it’s completely excreted.
When should I stop using this antiviral?
The maximum treatment course is 10 days. Keep using the medicine for four days or until your cold sore is fully healed. If you do not feel better after 10 days, consult your doctor.
Who should not use Zovirax?
Like any substance, the medicine can cause individual intolerance, but such cases are extremely rare.
Care should be taken when using the drug in patients with renal failure, as well as in case of dehydration of the body.
In case of neurological disorders, the doctor weighs the risks of prescribing the drug.
You should not use this antiviral while taking cytotoxic drugs.
Can I use antivirals when pregnant and breastfeeding?
It is undesirable to use the drug during pregnancy as it may cause negative effects: mutagenic, embritoscopic or teratogenic. The decision is made by the doctor based on the risks to the child and the potential benefit to the woman.
Breastfeeding and acyclovir are incompatible because this substance gets into breast milk.
What are the side effects of Zovirax?
Acyclovir doesn’t cause drowsiness but it can cause other side effects.
Side effects usually occur when using external agents – eye ointment and cream. These include rash, itching, burning, soreness and vulvitis are possible (in the treatment of genital herpes).
When applying eye ointment, there may be a burning sensation at the site of application, symptoms of conjunctivitis, blepharitis, superficial keratopathy.
What should you not take with acyclovir?
Common medications that may interact with this antiviral include:
- NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, or naproxen;
- hepatitis B medications, such as entecavir;
- HIV medications, such as tenofovir and zidovudine;
- other antivirals, such as valacyclovir.
You can drink alcohol while taking acyclovir.
Is acyclovir making my hair fall out?
In rare cases, treatment with oral antivirals can lead to hair loss. Drug-induced alopecia usually occurs as a diffuse non cicatricial alopecia that re-covers after the drug is canceled.
Are aciclovir tablets better than cream?
What’s the difference? The antiviral is available as tablets or a cream. The cream can be used to treat milder herpes infections, such as cold sores, but more severe infections require tablets.
Can I overdose on acyclovir?
Toxic effects from a single accidental overdose (up to 20 g inclusive) have not been registered.
Possible symptoms of acyclovir overdose are nausea, vomiting, headaches, clouding of consciousness, shortness of breath, diarrhea, impaired renal function, and convulsions. In the worst cases, lethargy and coma can occur.
In order to avoid an overdose, it is recommended that you do not exceed the dosage of the drug. If an overdose is detected, hemodialysis is used.
How to store this medicine?
The shelf life of Zovirax is 5 years under proper conditions. Store away from heat and moisture. Keep out of the reach of children ad pets.