Synonyms in a broader sense

Acyclovir, antiviral, antiviral drug

Other trade name:

  • Accarix®
  • Aciclostad®
  • Acivir®
  • ViruMed®
  • DYNEXAN Herpes Cream®
  • uva.


Zovirax is the trade name of a drug with the active ingredient acyclovir. It is a drug against viral diseases with a herpes virus. Acyclovir can be applied topically as an ointment or cream, as well as in tablet form or given via the vein.

It is mainly used in the following diseases:
Meningitis caused by herpes simplex viruses, genital herpes with Cold sore on and around the genitals, cold sores and neonatal herpes. In addition, it is used in immunocompromised people for the prophylaxis and therapy of, among other things, chickenpox and shingles. The drug has a symptom-relieving effect and shortens the duration of the illness. The pathogens remain in the body for life and can lead to renewed attacks.

Application and dosage forms

One possible form of application is the Zovirax ointment

There are different types of preparation available for use. A cream can be used for local therapy on the skin of cold sores or genital herpes.
Tablets and infusion solutions are available for the prevention or therapy of genital and neonatal herpes, as well as for the therapy of shingles.

Read more under: Duration of cold sores with Zovirax


The standard dosage in the therapy of Genital herpes amounts 5x200mg per day. For prophylaxis you can 4x200mg per day or 2x400mg used per day. Other dosages are possible in the case of immunosuppression, severe infections or special situations. If the kidneys are not functioning properly, the dose should be adjusted if necessary.
For shingles (Herpes zoster) dosages of 5x800mg per day are given.
For children and infants, the doses are individually adapted to their body weight and age.

Application / indication

Shingles, which usually shows up with painful blisters on one side like a belt, often occurs in old age and in immunosuppressed people. In order to avoid or reduce the pain that occurs after the blisters have healed, therapy should be considered in patients over 50 years of age and in severe cases. In young immunocompetent people, shingles usually heals without consequences. Therefore, administration of Zovirax to these people is not absolutely necessary and must be decided individually.

Genital herpes: Genital herpes shows up with blisters on and around the genitals. It can occur in spurts over and over again. Here, Zovirax can be used locally as a cream or tablet to accelerate healing or, in the event of frequent recurrence, can also be taken prophylactically over a longer period of time. The time before the birth is of particular importance. Here preventive therapy can be useful to prevent the child from being infected during the birth. However, the therapy cannot achieve a permanent cure; the vesicles can reappear even after the therapy.
Also read our topic: Duration of genital herpes

Cold sores:
Local therapy with Zovirax cream is also available here. Therapy should be given as early as possible and before the vesicles break out, as it can then lead to a shortening of the active vesicles. In the case of very severe infections, tablets or infusions can also be used. However, it cannot fight the cause of the vesicles; the viruses stay in the body for life and can form again vesicles.

Zovirax is also used for neonatal herpes and meningitis caused by herpes viruses.
In the case of immunosuppression, for example after transplants or in the case of serious illnesses, Zovirax can also be given preventively, as illnesses caused by herpes viruses are very common in these situations.
Special eye ointments are available for herpes infections of the cornea.

Read more on the topic: Zovirax® eye ointment

Side effects

Overall, Zovirax is one well tolerated Drug.
At very high dosages (as a syringe) and faster administration, as well as with previously damaged Kidneys kidney function may be impaired. This can mainly happen if the drug crystallizes out when excreted in the urine. It is therefore advisable to drink plenty of fluids with and after taking the medication to support the work of the kidneys. If the kidney is already damaged, the doctor should carefully check the dose and, if necessary, reduce the dose and lengthen the intervals between ingestions.

Accidental spraying next to a container can cause inflammation.
Other side effects mainly affect the Digestive system: nausea, Vomit and diarrhea. It can become one skin rash come. Having transient elevations in liver values ​​and slight changes in blood counts Anemia occur.
In the case of very serious courses, in particular with meningitis, it can rarely also Hallucinations and seizures come.

Special patient groups

With children

The use of Zovirax may also be necessary in children. With them the gift of that Weight be adjusted.

pregnancy and breast feeding period

In the pregnancy the regulation should be particularly carefully considered. However, there is no evidence of an increased risk of harm to the mother or the unborn child. A therapy for herpes infections can in the pregnancy be useful to prevent infection of the child.

So-called genital herpes should also be treated before birth or an outbreak prevented to prevent the child from becoming infected during birth.
Since the drug is used in Breastfeeding with the newborn, weaning should be considered.

Contraindications / Contraindications

Should not be ingested Acyclovir if you have previously had severe allergic reactions to acyclovir or valaciclovir (a precursor that is converted into acyclovir in the body).


Special precautions apply during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. When applying skin cream, care should be taken to ensure that it does not appear Mucous membranes like in the mouth that Scabbard or in that eye reach. Zovirax, especially in the case of tablets and systemic administration via the vein, should always be taken with as much fluid as possible in order to prevent damage to the kidneys.


Interactions mainly occur when Zovirax is combined with other drugs that damage the kidneys. With these combinations, the kidney-damaging effect increases and there should therefore be a special one close monitoring of kidney values and ensure that you drink as much fluid as possible.

The drugs Cimetidine, probenecid, and mycophenolate can reduce the excretion of acyclovir in the kidney and therefore lead to higher drug levels in the kidney blood to lead. In the case of the combination, a reduction in the dose should be considered by the doctor or close monitoring should be carried out.