Zovirax (acyclovir) is an antiviral drug that has been around for about four decades and continues to be a primary treatment regimen for patients who show symptoms of one of the four herpes viruses sensitive to this medication. Discovered in 1974, this was the first successful antiviral drug all around the globe, and it’s because of how it works. By converting and breaking down in a couple of different ways, Zovirax poses as the chemical needed for the herpes virus to reproduce, thereby tricking the virus to kill itself on contact.
The main question is exactly what is acyclovir used for? It is a topical and oral medication that is used to treat four out of the five strains of the herpes virus. This includes the herpes simplex virus 1, herpes simplex virus 2, Epstein-Barr virus, and varicella-zoster which is also known as chickenpox and shingles.
Acyclovir for cold sores
Zovirax for cold sores is generally prescribed as a cream for fast absorption and no greasy residue. Cold sores are blister like lesions that form around the mouth and are caused by the herpes simplex 1 virus. This should be treated right at the onset of the cold sore by applying the Zovirax (acyclovir) cream to the area four times a day for four to five days. The longer it goes without being treated, the longer it will take to go away, even with the medication. Even with medication, cold sores can still be transmitted to other people, so patients should avoid contact with other people’s mouths and body.
Acyclovir for shingles
Zovirax (acyclovir) for shingles can be treated with either oral capsules or a topical cream/ointment. Shingles is caused by herpes zoster virus and is characterized by a blistering rash on the skin. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After someone has had chickenpox, the virus lays dormant in the spinal cord and brain nervous tissues. The virus can then reactivate many years later, and this causes shingles. This rash can occur anywhere on the body and is usually very painful if not treated in its earliest stages.
Acyclovir for herpes
Zovirax (acyclovir) for herpes viruses other than those mentioned above is used as either topical or oral capsules in varying dosages and applications depending on location, size of affected area, and whether or not a patient needs slow or quick absorption. Genital herpes is usually treated with the ointment for the slow absorption caused by the oil. This allows longer relief and longer treatment. However, the cream would be better to help with chickenpox or a widespread rash.
Zovirax (acyclovir) can treat only the symptoms of herpes infections. It cannot cure the virus or wipe it out of the body. After symptoms reside, the virus can remain dormant for a few weeks up to several years at a time. It depends on lifestyle and medical history, so precautions should be taken after the first outbreak.