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Zovirax Cream

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.

What Is Zovirax Cream?

Zovirax® cream (acyclovir cream) is a prescription antiviral medication used to treat cold sores in adults and adolescents age 12 and older.
This article refers to the cream form of Zovirax, which is different from the ointment form (see Zovirax Ointment).
(Click Zovirax Cream Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses for the drug.)

Who Makes Zovirax Cream?

It is made by Biovail Pharmaceuticals.

How Does It Work?

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.

About Zovirax Cream

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