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Back to Infections Drug Index

Back to Antivirals

Acyclovir - Zovirax

Pregnancy Category C

Drug classes

Antiviral drug

Mechanism of action

Antiviral activity; inhibits viral DNA replication.


  1. Initial and recurrent mucosal and cutaneous herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2 infections in immunocompromised patients
  2. Severe initial and recurrent genital herpes infections in selected patients
  3. Ointment: initial HSV genital infections; limited mucocutaneous HSV infections in immunocompromised patients
  4. Unlabeled uses: treatment of herpes zoster, cytomegalovirus and HSV infection following transplant, herpes simplex infections, infectious
    mononucleosis, varicella pneumonia, varicella zoster in immunocompromised patients


  1. Allergy to acyclovir
  2. Seizures
  3. CHF
  4. Renal disease
  5. Lactation
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Adverse effects

Systemic Administration

  • CNS: Headache, vertigo, depression, tremors, encephalopathic changes
  • GI: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia
  • GU: Crystalluria with rapid IV administration, hematuria
  • Dermatologic: Inflammation or phlebitis at injection sites, rash, hair

Topical Administration

  • Dermatologic: Transient burning at site of application

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