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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Zovirax

Generic Name: acyclovir (injection) (Pronunciation: a SYE klo veer)

What is acyclovir (Zovirax)?

Acyclovir is an antiviral drug. It slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus so that the body can fight off the infection. Acyclovir will not cure herpes, but it can lessen the symptoms of the infection.

Acyclovir injection is used to treat severe infections caused by herpes viruses, including severe forms of genital herpes, shingles, herpes encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and herpes infections in people with other diseases that weaken the immune system.

Acyclovir may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of acyclovir injection (Zovirax)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using acyclovir and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • a red, blistering, peeling skin rash;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • swelling, pain, tenderness, or skin changes where the injection was given;
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, weakness; or
  • confusion, tremors, agitation, tiredness, hallucinations, or seizure (convulsions).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite;
  • muscle pain, numbness or tingling;
  • loss of coordination;
  • drowsiness;
  • headache, feeling light-headed; or
  • swelling in your hands or feet.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about acyclovir injection (Zovirax)?

Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Acyclovir will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

Treatment with acyclovir should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters).

Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people, even while you are being treated with acyclovir. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent passing the infection to others.

Acyclovir will not prevent the spread of genital herpes. Avoid sexual intercourse or use a latex condom to prevent spreading the virus to others.



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.

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