- Acyclovir Topical
- Aciclovir (including Zovirax)
- Preventing cold sores
- Basic Drug Info
- What is Zovirax?
- What is Zovirax used for?
- How does Zovirax work?
- How long does Zovirax stay in your system?
- What are the side effects of Zovirax?
- Where can you buy Zovirax over the counter?
Topical acyclovir comes as a cream and an ointment to apply to the skin. Acyclovir cream is usually applied five times a day for 4 days. Acyclovir cream may be applied at any time during a cold sore outbreak, but it works best when it is applied at the very beginning of a cold sore outbreak, when there is tingling, redness, itching, or a bump but the cold sore has not yet formed. Acyclovir ointment is usually applied six times a day (usually 3 hours apart) for 7 days. It is best to begin using acyclovir ointment as soon as possible after you experience the first symptoms of infection. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use topical acyclovir exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your symptoms should improve during your treatment with topical acyclovir. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
Acyclovir cream and ointment are for use only on the skin. Do not let acyclovir cream or ointment get into your eyes, or inside your mouth or nose, and do not swallow the medication.
Acyclovir cream should only be applied to skin where a cold sore has formed or seems likely to form. Do not apply acyclovir cream to any unaffected skin, or to genital herpes sores.
Do not apply other skin medications or other types of skin products such as cosmetics, sun screen, or lip balm to the cold sore area while using acyclovir cream unless your doctor tells you that you should.
To use acyclovir cream, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands.
- Clean and dry the area of skin where you will be applying the cream.
- Apply a layer of cream to cover the skin where the cold sore has formed or seems likely to form.
- Rub the cream into the skin until it disappears.
- Leave the skin where you applied the medication uncovered. Do not apply a bandage or dressing unless your doctor tells you that you should.
- Wash your hands with soap and water to remove any cream left on your hands.
- Be careful not to wash the cream off of your skin. Do not bathe, shower, or swim right after applying acyclovir cream.
- Avoid irritation of the cold sore area while using acyclovir cream.
To use acyclovir ointment, follow these steps:
- Put on a clean finger cot or rubber glove.
- Apply enough ointment to cover all of your sores.
- Take off the finger cot or rubber glove and dispose of it safely, so that it is out of reach of children.
- Keep the affected area(s) clean and dry, and avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing over the affected area.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient. Read this information before you start using acyclovir and each time you refill your prescription.
Aciclovir (including Zovirax)
It’s important to start taking (or using) this medicine as soon as you get the first signs of infection.
A cold sore usually starts with a tingling, itching or burning feeling.
Aciclovir tablets and liquid
Doses will vary, depending on why you’re taking aciclovir. Your doctor will tell you how much to take and how often.
A single dose is generally between 200mg and 800mg, and may be lower for children.
You’ll usually take aciclovir 2 to 5 times a day. Try to space the doses evenly throughout the day.
If you take aciclovir:
- 4 times a day – you could take it first thing in the morning, at midday, in the late afternoon and at bedtime
- 5 times a day – for example, you could take it at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and 11pm
You can take aciclovir with or without food. Drink plenty of water while taking this medicine to help keep your kidneys working well.
Keep taking the medicine until it’s all finished or until your doctor or pharmacist tells you to stop taking it.
For treating a viral infection, you’ll usually take aciclovir for 5 to 10 days. For prevention, you may need to take it for a long time.
Tablets: swallow the tablets whole with some water. If you find tablets difficult to swallow, you can dissolve them in water. Add a tablet to a small glass of water and stir. Drink all the liquid to make sure you get the full dose.
Liquid: use the measuring spoon or plastic syringe that came with your medicine. If you do not have a measuring spoon or syringe, ask your pharmacist for one. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as you will not get the right amount of medicine.
Cream for cold sores
Wash your hands before and after using the cream.
Put a thin layer of cream on the cold sore 5 times a day. Do this every 4 hours – for example, at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and 11pm.
Do not put aciclovir cream in your mouth, eyes or vagina.
Use the cream for at least 4 days. If the cold sore has not healed by then, you can carry on using the cream for another 6 days.
If the sore still has not healed after a total of 10 days, stop using the cream and tell your doctor.
Cream for genital herpes
Wash your hands before and after using the cream.
Put a thin layer of cream on the affected area 5 times a day. Do this every 4 hours – for example, at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and 11pm.
Use the cream for at least 5 days. If the genital herpes sore has not healed by then, you can carry on using the cream for another 5 days.
If the affected area has still not healed after a total of 10 days, stop using the cream and tell your doctor.
What if I forget a dose of aciclovir?
If you forget a dose of aciclovir, take it (or use the cream) as soon as you remember, unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. In this case, just skip the missed dose and continue with your next one as normal.
Never have 2 doses at the same time. Never have an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you.
You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicines.
What if I take or use too much?
Taking too much aciclovir by accident is unlikely to harm you, unless you take too much over several days.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re worried that you have had too much aciclovir.
Preventing cold sores
Ask the doctor
Published: August, 2015
Q. What’s the fastest way to get rid of a cold sore? Is it possible to prevent them?
A. Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are bothersome and painful fluid-filled blisters on or around the lips. They are caused by infection with herpes simplex virus (usually type 1). Cold sores heal on their own in seven to 10 days. However, antiviral medications can modestly shorten the healing period. One-day treatment with the prescription antiviral drugs famciclovir (Famvir) or valacyclovir (Valtrex) shortens cold sore symptoms by one to two days. These oral medications are most effective when taken at the first sign of a cold sore, such as a burning or tingling sensation. Antiviral creams are less effective and need to be applied several times daily for five days.
To prevent cold sores, valacyclovir or another antiviral drug, acyclovir (Zovirax), can be taken daily. This reduces the chance of a cold sore coming back by about one-third. It could also help if you avoid triggers, such as exposure to sun or wind, that can activate the cold sore virus. If sun exposure is a trigger for you, using sunscreens can help. You may have heard that the amino acid lysine, taken as a dietary supplement, can prevent cold sores, but the evidence for this is not very good.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Basic Drug Info
Manufacturer: GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Active Substance: Acyclovir (aciclovir)
Drug Form: Film-coated tablets, ointment, drops
Available Doses: 200 mg, 400 mg, 800 mg
What is Zovirax?
Zovirax (acyclovir, or aciclovir) is an oral drug used in treatment of viral infections with Herpes simplex and varicella zoster. The drug is also available in form of 5% cream (ointment) for topical application).
What is Zovirax used for?
The formulations by mouth include a dosage of 200-400 mg (up to 800 mg in the case of genital herpes) for 5 times a day for at least 5 days. The dose should be halved in children under 2 years old. For the attenuation of varicella zoster in adults the usual posology is 800 mg for 5 times a day for 7 days; in children, the dosage is defined by the doctor based on weight and age. The cream formulations, indicated for primary or recurrent cold sores and genital infections, should be applied 5 times a day, for a period of 5-10 days.
Note: Herpes simplex infections of the mucous membranes of the mouth and vaginal discharge require treatment by mouth.
How does Zovirax work?
Aciclovir works by blocking the DNA synthesis of the virus, preventing cell replication without interfering with the duplication of human DNA.
How long does Zovirax stay in your system?
The bioavailability of orally administered Zovirax is estimated between 15% and 30%. The drug is eliminated through kidneys after 1.5-2 hours. This period of time is extended to 19.5 hours in patients with kidney failure.
What are the side effects of Zovirax?
Zovirax can cause various types of side effects, although not all people experience them. This depends on the different sensitivity that each individual has towards the drug. Therefore, it is said that the undesirable effects do not all occur with the same intensity in each patient. The main side effects that can occur during Zovirax treatment are listed below.
Zovirax is an effective and very well tolerated antiviral drug. Zovirax oral therapies may be associated with modest side effects:
- abdominal pain
Zovirax cream can cause a slight sensation of itching or itching in the application point especially the first 2-3 days.
Oral Zovirax tablets are not contraindicated during pregnancy or during breastfeeding, but the opportunity of their use should be evaluated by the doctor.
- Accrivir – Sivling Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
- Aciherpin – Agio Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
- Acirax – Synmedic Laboratories
- Acivir DT – Cipla Limited
- Acv – Geo Pharma Pvt. Ltd.
- Acvirall Dis – Terrace Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.
- Acyclovir – Chandra Bhagat Pharma Pvt. Ltd.
- Axovir – Samarth Pharma Pvt. Ltd.
- Civir DT – Biomax Biotechnics Pvt Ltd
- Clovirax DT – Maneesh Pharmaceuticals Ltd
- Cyclopiz – Gary Pharmaceuticals P Ltd.
- Docvir DT – Swiss Pharma Pvt. Ltd.
- Herperax – Micro Labs Ltd (Gratia)
- Herpex – Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
- Herzovir – Chandra Bhagat Pharma Pvt. Ltd.
- Lyrovir – Lyra Laboratories Pvt Ltd
- Ocurax – IPCA Laboratories Ltd. (Innova)
- Optiviral – Entod Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
- Virclo – Shinto Organics (P) Ltd.
- Virex – BDH Industries Ltd.
- Zovir – East West Pharma
- Zoylex – Neon Laboratories Limited
Where can you buy Zovirax over the counter?
You can order Zovirax without prescription online. This will not only save your time and efforts, but will also be a more economical solution; online pharmacies charges considerably less money for the products they distribute, since they skip so many expenses that brick-and-mortar pharmacies face.
Zovirax is a prescription drug and is not devoid of a certain number of contraindications (see Contraindications section), therefore professional healthcare consultation should be made, at your local health center or online, before you proceed with acyclovir therapy.