Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Zovirax

(Acyclovir)

  • Pill
  • Oral suspension
  • Dissolving tablet extended release
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
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Treats viral infections.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

Zovirax (Acyclovir) is good for treating viral infections like herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll shorten the length of a breakout.

  • Used as a first-choice treatment for herpes, chickenpox, and shingles infections and breakouts.
  • Most people (including pregnant women) usually take the oral medication without experiencing any side effects.
  • Available as a generic, so it's relatively cheap.
  • Most people generally don't develop a resistance to Zovirax (Acyclovir).
  • Works well for most people to shorten the duration of outbreaks.
  • Zovirax (Acyclovir) is not a cure for herpes, chickenpox, or shingles. It will only shorten the time you have a breakout.
  • If you're taking Zovirax (Acyclovir) for herpes, you should use barrier methods (condoms) when you're having sex since you can still pass it on to other people, even if you're taking the medication and you're not in a breakout.
  • You need to take this up to five times a day, so it can be inconvenient.

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Side effects for Zovirax (Acyclovir)

From clinical trials of Zovirax / Genital herpes, active (200 mg) ( 585)

  • Nausea and/or vomitingNausea and/or vomiting3% for Acyclovir vs.1% for placebo

What to expect when you take Zovirax (Acyclovir)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • Works the best when taken as early as possible during an outbreak.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated while on Zovirax (Acyclovir).
  • If you're taking this for herpes, use condoms and avoid sex if you're having an outbreak so you don't infect others.
  • Start taking Zovirax (Acyclovir) as soon as you know you're going to have a breakout.
  • Can cause diarrhea, nausea, or weakness.
  • This isn't a cure for viral infections, but it'll help control infection breakouts.

Risks and Warnings for Zovirax (Acyclovir)

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  • There have been reports of people on Zovirax (Acyclovir) who have had serious kidney damage. This is very rare. You'll want to drink plenty of fluids while you're on Zovirax (Acyclovir).

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Zovirax (Acyclovir)

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The FDA category for this medication is B. It is advised that you: Probably safe
Pregnancy
Kidneys & liver
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • There have been reports of people on Zovirax (Acyclovir) who have had serious kidney damage. This is very rare. You'll want to drink plenty of fluids while you're on Zovirax (Acyclovir).
Sex
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • If you're taking Zovirax (Acyclovir) for herpes, you should use barrier methods (condoms) when you're having sex since you can still pass it on to other people, even if you're taking the medication and you're not in a breakout.
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • If you're taking this for herpes, use condoms and avoid sex if you're having an outbreak so you don't infect others.