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What is Zovirax (acyclovir)?
Zovirax (acyclovir) is a type of antiviral drug called a synthetic nucleoside analogue, that has inhibitory activity (interferes with viral replication) against the herpes viruses, including herpes simplex 1 and 2 (cold sores and genital herpes), varicella-zoster (shingles and chickenpox), and Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis).
Common side effects of Zovirax include:
Serious side effects of Zovirax include:
Drug interactions of Zovirax include:
- valproic acid,
- and amphotericin B or other drugs that reduce kidney function.
There are no adequate studies of Zovirax in pregnant women. In a patient registry of women who used Zovirax during the first trimester, the rate of birth defects was similar to the rate of birth defects in the general population. Zovirax is excreted in breast milk, and a significant amount may be transferred to the infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
What are the important side effects of Zovirax (acyclovir)?
The most common side effects are:
Other reported side effects include:
Zovirax (acyclovir) side effects list for healthcare professionals
Adverse Drug Reaction Overview
The most frequent adverse reactions associated with the use of Zovirax® (acyclovir) are headache and nausea.
Neurological side effects have also been reported in rare instances. Elderly patients and patients with a history of renal impairment are at increased risk of developing these effects. In the reported cases, these reactions were generally reversible on discontinuation of treatment.
Clinical Trial Adverse Drug Reactions
Because clinical trials are conducted under very specific conditions the adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials may not reflect the rates observed in practice and should not be compared to the rates in the clinical trials of another drug. Adverse drug reaction information from clinical trials is useful for identifying drug-related adverse events and for approximating rates.
Treatment of Herpes Simplex
Short-term administration (5-10 days): The most frequent adverse reactions reported during clinical trials of treatment of genital herpes with oral Zovirax® in 298 patients are listed in Table 1.
Table 1 : Adverse Reactions Reported in Clinical
Trials of Treatment of Genital Herpes with Acyclovir
|Nausea and/or Vomiting||8||2.7|
Suppression of Herpes Simplex
Long-term administration: The most frequent adverse events reported in a clinical trial for the prevention of recurrences with continuous administration of 400 mg (two 200 mg capsules) 2 times daily are listed in Table 2.
Table 2 : Adverse Reactions Reported in a Clinical
Trial for the Prevention of Recurrences of Genital Herpes with Acyclovir
|Adverse Reactions||1st Year
Evidence so far from clinical trials suggests that the severity and frequency of adverse events is unlikely to necessitate discontinuation of therapy.
The most frequent adverse reactions reported during three clinical trials of treatment of herpes zoster (shingles) with 800 mg of oral Zovirax® 5 times daily for 7 or 10 days or placebo are listed in Table 3.
Table 3 : Adverse Reactions Reported in Clinical
Trials of Treatment of Herpes Zoster
The most frequent adverse events reported during three clinical trials of treatment of chickenpox with oral Zovirax® or placebo are listed in Table 4.
Table 4 : Adverse Reactions Reported in Clinical
Trials of Treatment of Chickenpox
Less Common Clinical Trial Adverse Drug Reactions ( < 1%)
Other adverse reactions reported in less than 1% of patients receiving Zovirax® in any clinical trial included: abdominal pain, anorexia, constipation, dizziness, edema, fatigue, flatulence, inguinal adenopathy, insomnia, leg pain, medication taste, skin rash, sore throat, spasmodic hand movement and urticaria.
Abnormal Hematologic And Clinical Chemistry Findings
No clinically significant changes in laboratory values have been observed in clinical trials for the treatment of chickenpox and zoster, and for the treatment and suppression of genital herpes with Zovirax®.
Post-Market Adverse Drug Reactions
The following events have been reported voluntarily during post-market use of Zovirax® in clinical practice. These events have been chosen for inclusion due to either their seriousness, frequency of reporting, potential causal connection to Zovirax® or a combination of these factors. Post-market adverse events are reported spontaneously from a population of unknown size, thus estimates of frequency cannot be made.
Nervous: Dizziness, paresthesia, agitation, confusion, tremor, ataxia, dysarthria, hallucinations, psychotic symptoms, convulsions, somnolence, encephalopathy and coma have been reported. These events are generally reversible and usually reported in patients with renal impairment, or with other predisposing factors. These symptoms may be marked, particularly in older adults.
Digestive: Diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress and nausea.
Hypersensitivity and Skin: Alopecia, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, rashes including photosensitivity, pruritus, urticaria, dyspnoea, angioedema and anaphylaxis.
Special Senses: Visual abnormalities.
What drugs interact with Zovirax (acyclovir)?
No clinically significant interactions have been identified.
Acyclovir is eliminated primarily unchanged in the urine via active renal tubular secretion. Any drugs administered concurrently that compete with this mechanism may increase acyclovir plasma concentrations. Probenecid and cimetidine increase the area under the curve (AUC) of acyclovir by this mechanism, and reduce acyclovir renal clearance.
Similarly, increases in plasma AUCs of acyclovir and of the inactive metabolite of mycophenolate mofetil, an immunosuppressant agent used in transplant patients have been shown when the drugs are coadministered. However, no dosage adjustment is necessary because of the wide therapeutic index of acyclovir.
There is no known interaction with food.
Interactions with herbal products have not been established.
Drug-Laboratory Test Interactions
Interactions with laboratory tests have not been established.
Zovirax (acyclovir) is a type of antiviral drug called a synthetic nucleoside analogue, that has inhibitory activity (interferes with viral replication) against the herpes viruses, including herpes simplex 1 and 2 (cold sores and genital herpes), varicella-zoster (shingles and chickenpox), and Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis). Common side effects of Zovirax include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. There are no adequate studies of Zovirax in pregnant women. Zovirax is excreted in breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
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Related Disease Conditions
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.
Cold Sores (Nongenital Herpes Simplex Infections)
Herpes simplex infections are common and when they appear around the mouth and lips, people often refer to them as "cold sores" and "fever blisters." Canker sores are different than cold sores. Air droplets can spread the virus, as can direct contact with the fluid from the blisters. Cold sore treatment include over-the-counter medication, as well as prescription medications.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles symptoms and signs include skin burning, numbness, and tingling along with a painful red, blistering rash. Shingles is contagious until all of the blisters have crusted over.
Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus) "Mono" and "kissing disease" are popular terms for this very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Genital Herpes in Women (Symptoms, Signs, Treatment)
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms of genital herpes include painful blisters and often fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes for first time infection. Genital herpes is diagnosed with lab tests to test for the presence of the virus. Treatment for genital herpes includes antiviral medications to shorten the duration of the outbreak or reduce the risk of future outbreaks. There is no cure for genital herpes. Condoms may help prevent the spread of genital herpes.
Second Source article from Government
Herpes Viral Infections of the Eye
Herpes of the eye occurs due to herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). Symptoms of herpes of the eye include pain in and around the eye, rash or sores on the eyelids, redness, swelling, and cloudiness of the cornea.
Is Mononucleosis (Mono) Contagious?
Mononucleosis (mono) is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and can be transmitted by an infected person's saliva. Mono symptoms and signs include rash, enlarged spleen, swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, and fatigue.
Shingles and Pregnancy
Becoming infected with chickenpox during pregnancy could cause birth defects in your unborn child. Likewise, shingles could also cause problems for your unborn child. If you are pregnant and haven't had chickenpox, avoid exposure to infected people. Zostavax, the shingles vaccine, can reduce the incidence of shingles by half. Women should wait at least three months after receiving the vaccine before trying to get pregnant.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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Medications & Supplements
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.