Health Lifestyle

What Is Acyclovir (Zovirax)?

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Acyclovir is the generic name for Zovirax, a prescription medication used to treat certain virus infections.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acyclovir to treat viral infections from the varicella virus that causes chicken pox and shingles, as well as infections from the virus that causes genital herpes.

The drug works by preventing viruses from dividing and multiplying. The FDA approved acyclovir in the 1980s.Acyclovir is available as a generic, made by several companies, or under the brand name Zovirax, made by GlaxoSmithKline and available in tablet, capsule, and liquid form.

Acyclovir is one of the oldest drugs used to treat herpes simplex viruses and remains the first line of treatment for these infections. A 2013 study, published in the journal Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, found that acyclovir-resistant herpes strains could develop over time.

Acyclovir Side Effects

The most common side effects of acyclovir treatment for genital herpes include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Shingles requires treatment with higher doses of acyclovir, and the most common side effects at higher doses are tiredness and malaise.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. Side effects that may be seen in all people using acyclovir include:
Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting,Headache, Dizziness, Tiredness, Muscle or joint aches, Visual changes, Fluid retention, Hair loss, Confusion, Changes in behavior

Serious side effects also can occur. If you have any of these side effects, call your doctor right away:

Severe rash, hives, or a rash that causes blisters and peeling, Yellowing of skin or eyes, Unusual bleeding or bruising, Seizure, Loss of consciousness, Swelling of face, lips, or tongue, Difficulty breathing, Decreased urine output or blood in the urine, Extreme sleepiness or confusion, Hallucinations, Tingling, numbness, or shakiness

Age matters, too. People older than 65 may have more side effects from acyclovir because their kidneys do not get rid of the drug as quickly as younger people's do