Generic Name: Acyclovir

  • What is Zovirax?

    Zovirax is an antiviral medication that treats herpes infections caused by different types of herpes viruses. Zovirax is used to treat initial and recurrent genital herpes infections, chickenpox (varicella), and shingles (herpes zoster).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Zovirax?

    Zovirax can cause injury to your kidneys and even death due to complete kidney failure. Take with caution if you have any type of kidney problems. Also use caution if you are taking any medications that can harm your kidneys. It is important to stay adequately hydrated while taking Zovirax.

    Zovirax may cause life-threatening blood disorders, especially if you have problems with your immune system.

    It is not known if Zovirax can reduce the transmission of genital herpes if you have multiple sexual partners or in nonheterosexual couples. Zovirax does not cure genital herpes. You should avoid sexual contact if you have open lesions or an active outbreak; however, genital herpes may be spread even if you have no symptoms of an outbreak. You should always use a condom made of latex or polyurethane whenever you have sexual contact. If your doctor advises you to take Zovirax for recurrent outbreaks, start taking it at the first sign or symptom of an outbreak.

  • Who should not take Zovirax?

    Do not take Zovirax if you are allergic to or sensitive to any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Zovirax?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Zovirax. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney problems, are on dialysis due to kidney problems, or if you have a deficiency of your immune system. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Treatment of Herpes Zoster (shingles)

    Adults: The usual dose is 800 milligrams (mg) taken every 4 hours, 5 times daily for 7 to 10 days.


    Adults: The usual dose is 800 mg taken 4 times a day for 5 days.

    Children ≥2 years: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose based on your child's weight.

    Genital Herpes

    Adults: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose based on the stage of infection.

  • How should I take Zovirax?

    Take Zovirax at the same time every day, and do not discontinue unless directed by your doctor. Start taking Zovirax as soon as you notice any symptoms of an outbreak. Zovirax may be taken with or without food, and with plenty of water.

  • What should I avoid while taking Zovirax?

    Avoid becoming dehydrated. Do not have sexual intercourse during an outbreak. Always use a latex condom.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Zovirax?

    If Zovirax is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Zovirax with probenecid.

  • What are the possible side effects of Zovirax?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: diarrhea, flulike symptoms, nausea, vomiting, headache

  • Can I receive Zovirax if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Zovirax during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Zovirax?

    If you forget to take Zovirax, take it as soon as you remember. If it is closer to your next scheduled dose, skip the dose you missed and take Zovirax according to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Zovirax?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

Check out my latest post on cholesterol drugs.

Zovirax Related Drugs

Zovirax Related Conditions