Zovirax cream is an antiviral medication that is used to treat cold sores, which are caused by herpes simplex viruses. The prescription medication helps the body fight the infection by preventing the virus from multiplying. Although Zovirax cream cannot prevent an outbreak, it can help cold sores to heal quicker when applied at the first signs of an outbreak. Potential side effects include dry lips and dry skin.
Cold sores are caused by viruses -- specifically, the herpes simplex viruses (HSV). Zovirax cream is an antiviral medication that helps the body fight the infection 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. In addition, treatment with Zovirax cream does not prevent future outbreaks of cold sores.
A few studies have looked at Zovirax cream for the treatment of cold sores in people who have frequent outbreaks. These studies showed that people who used it at the first signs of an outbreak had cold sores that healed half a day sooner, compared to people who did not use Zovirax cream.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Zovirax Cream [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;Nutley, NJ: Roche Pharmaceuticals;2004 January.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 6, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed June 6, 2007.
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