Zovirax side effects, acyclovir medication research benefit
September 15 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Zovirax, acyclovir is the generic name, is a prescription medication used to treat herpes virus infections such as genital herpes, shingles, herpes simplex, and chicken pox. Zovirax interferes with the activity of enzymes needed for the replication of viral DNA in cells. By preventing the multiplication, the herpes virus cannot increase its population and multiply as easily.


Skinmed: Dermatology for the Physician. 2015. Annular Elastolytic Giant Cell Granuloma and Temporal Arteritis Following Herpes Zoster. A 70-year-old woman, who presented with pain and functional limitation of her right shoulder, without any previous traumatic incident, was evaluated in an emergency department. A shoulder x-ray was performed, and she received an intrajoint injection of an unspecified amount of triamcinolone. Forty-eight hours later, she noticed a papulovesicular and bullous eruption with a dermatomal distribution on her nape, supraclavicle, and left brachial and antebrachial regions (T1-T2-C5-C6-8). A diagnosis of herpes zoster (HZ) was made, for which she received valacyclovir 1 g every 8 hours for 10 days, pregabalin 75 mg every 8 hours, and topical acyclovir Zovirax, with good response. The lesions and pain subsided, and results from general laboratory tests were normal or negative.

Availability, where to buy
Zovirax is a pharmaceutical drug found at a pharmacy in capsules, tablets, liquid, cream, and ointment. Doctor and hospitals have Zovirax in injection form.

Zovirax Dosage
Oral Zovirax -- For genital herpes: Up to 1,200 mg a day in evenly distributed doses, every four or eight hours taken with food. For shingles: Up to 4,000 mg a day in evenly distributed doses every four hours. For chicken pox: Up to 800 mg, four times a day, not to exceed 3,200 mg a day. Topical form-- To relieve herpes symptoms: Apply a small amount of Zovirax ointment to lesions every three hours (six times a day) for seven days. Use a glove when applying Zovirax ointment.

Zovirax side effects
Zovirax side effects may be more common in older persons. Zovirax allergic reactions are uncommon but could include hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. Other less common Zovirax side effects include weakness, decreased urination, easy bruising or bleeding. Some people have the following Zovirax side effects: headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and stomach pain.


Toxicol Sci. Feb 5 2014. Testicular Effects Following In Utero Exposure to the Antivirals Acyclovir and Ganciclovir in Rats. Adult rats exposed in utero to this high ganciclovir dose exhibited Sertoli cell-only tubules intermingled with seminiferous tubules that displayed a normal size and normal cell counts, alterations that resemble focal Sertoli cell-only syndrome in humans. The serum concentrations of ganciclovir were markedly higher than those of acyclovir, particularly at the high dose tested. However, although 300 mg/kg acyclovir did not induce germ cell deficiency, other specific effects were seen in exposed animals, including incomplete eye opening and reduced thymus weight.

Zovirax and pregnancy, is it safe to use while pregnant?
Zovirax has been used by pregnant women and no birth defects or other related problems have been reported; however, studies in humans have been limited and inconclusive.

Zovirax and Breast Feeding
Zovirax may pass into breast milk. Breast feeding should be avoided while taking any oral form of the drug. No problems are expected with the topical form.

Infants and Children
Zovirax medication should not be used for children under two years of age. Its use for children under 12 should be carefully supervised by a physician.

Food Interactions with Zovirax medication
No significant food interactions have been reported.

Disease Interactions
Use of Zovirax medication may cause complications in patients with liver or kidney disease, since these organs work together to remove the medication from the body.