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Zovirax is a drug that is commonly prescribed to treat shingles, genital herpes, and chickenpox. These conditions are caused by viruses, and the drug works by preventing the viruses from multiplying. Zovirax is available in a number of forms, including tablets, capsules, and an oral suspension. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and headaches.

What Is Zovirax?

Zovirax® (acyclovir) is a prescription medication used to treat the following conditions:
This article focuses on the oral forms (the ones taken by mouth).
(For information on other forms, click Zovirax Cream or Zovirax Ointment.)
(Click Zovirax Uses for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Zovirax is made by GlaxoSmithKline.

How Does It Work?

Shingles, genital herpes, and chickenpox are caused by viruses. Once a person has been infected with one of these viruses, the virus never goes away. It remains inactive in certain nerve cells of the body, waiting to become active again. Zovirax is an antiviral medication that helps the body fight the infection. It does this by preventing the virus from multiplying.

Effects of Zovirax

Several studies have examined how well Zovirax treats shingles, genital herpes, and chickenpox.
In studies looking at Zovirax for shingles, the drug helped shingles lesions to heal faster and helped reduce pain. It also helped to prevent nerve pain associated with shingles. Studies suggested that the medication was more effective when started within the first 48 hours after symptoms appeared and worked better in people over 50 years old.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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