Important Information for Your Healthcare ProviderYou should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using acyclovir ointment if you:
- Have any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives
- Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Zovirax Ointment and Pregnancy)
- Are breastfeeding (see Zovirax Ointment and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Acyclovir Ointment to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
How Does Acyclovir Ointment Work?Genital herpes and cold sores are caused by viruses -- specifically, the herpes simplex viruses (HSV). Acyclovir ointment is an antiviral medication that helps the body fight the infection. It does this by preventing the virus from multiplying.
It is important to understand that once a person has been infected with these viruses, they never go away. They remain inactive in certain nerve cells of the body, waiting to become active again. Treatment with acyclovir ointment does not prevent future outbreaks of genital herpes or cold sores.
Effects of Acyclovir OintmentSeveral studies have looked at how effective this ointment is at treating herpes simplex infections in people with normal (healthy) or weakened immune systems.
Healthy Immune Systems
Acyclovir ointment was studied as a treatment for genital herpes in people with healthy immune systems. For people who used the medication to treat their first genital herpes infection, the lesions healed more quickly, compared to people who did not use it. For some people, acyclovir ointment also helped the pain to go away more quickly and decreased the time that they were contagious.