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What Is Acyclovir Ointment Used For?

Acyclovir ointment is prescribed for treating certain types of genital herpes and cold sores in adults. The medication helps the body fight the infection by preventing the virus from multiplying. Acyclovir ointment is not approved for use in children. On occasion, a healthcare provider may prescribe it for off-label uses, such as treating other types of viral skin infections.

What Is Acyclovir Ointment Used For? -- An Overview

Acyclovir ointment (Zovirax® ointment) is a prescription medication approved for the following uses:
  • Treating non-life-threatening genital herpes or cold sores in people with weakened immune systems (such as those with HIV or AIDS)
  • Treating an initial genital herpes infection (but not subsequent outbreaks) in people with normal immune systems.
This article refers to the ointment form of acyclovir, which is different from the cream form (see Acyclovir Cream).

Acyclovir Ointment Uses for Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by a virus, usually herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). Symptoms of genital herpes may include:
Genital herpes blisters usually heal within one to two weeks. Most people who are infected with genital herpes will have recurrent outbreaks. Acyclovir ointment is not a cure for genital herpes, and the virus will always remain in your body. However, when used for genital herpes treatment, the medication can help blisters heal more quickly.
Acyclovir ointment is approved for treating initial genital herpes infections (but not later outbreaks) in people with normal immune systems. For people with weakened immune systems, it can be used to treat the initial outbreaks and future infections.

Acyclovir (Zovirax) Ointment

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