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Back to Infections Drug Index

Back to Antivirals

Name: Vidarabine

Pregnancy Category C

Drug classes

  • Antiviral drug

Therapeutic actions

Antiviral activity against herpes simplex types 1 and 2; mechanism of action has  not been established; probably interferes with DNA synthesis.


Herpes simplex virus encephalitis (parenteral administration)

Neonatal herpes simplex virus infections (parenteral administration)

Herpes simplex virus keratitis (ophthalmic administration)

Reduction of complications of herpes zoster in immunocompromised patients
(parenteral product)


Contraindicated in the presence of allergy to vidarabine, pregnancy, lactation.

Use caution in the presence of liver disease, psychoses, CHF, renal disease, CNS infections.

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Adverse effects

Parenteral Administration

  • CNS: Tremor, headache, psychoses, malaise, dizziness, confusion, irritability, ataxia
  • GI: Nausea, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea
  • Hematologic: Decreased reticulocyte count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, WBC, platelet count, increased SGOT, total bilirubin
  • Dermatologic: Pruritus, rash
  • Local: Pain at injection site
  • Other: Weight loss

Ophthalmic Administration

  • Local: Blurring of vision, burning or stinging on administration, photophobia

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