Generic Name: acyclovir (ay-SYE-kloe-vir)
Brand Name: Zovirax
Zovirax capsules is used for:
Treating chickenpox (varicella) or shingles (herpes zoster) and treating or suppressing genital herpes infections. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Zovirax capsules is an antiviral. It works by stopping viral replication. However, Zovirax capsules does not eliminate the virus, is not a cure, and does not prevent transmission to others.
Do NOT use Zovirax capsules if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Zovirax capsules or to valacyclovir
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Zovirax capsules:
Some medical conditions may interact with Zovirax capsules. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have kidney problems or a weakened immune system
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Zovirax capsules. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Medicines that may harm the kidney (eg, aminoglycoside antibiotics [eg, gentamicin], amphotericin B, cyclosporine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] [eg, ibuprofen], tacrolimus, vancomycin) because the risk of kidney side effects may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the kidney
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Zovirax capsules may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use Zovirax capsules:
Use Zovirax capsules as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Take Zovirax capsules by mouth with or without food.
- Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Zovirax capsules is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
- Start therapy with Zovirax capsules at the earliest sign or symptom of shingles or genital herpes (pain, burning, blisters).
- If treating an acute outbreak, continue using Zovirax capsules for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days.
- For suppressive therapy, Zovirax capsules works best if it is taken at the same times each day.
- If you miss a dose of Zovirax capsules, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Zovirax capsules.
Important safety information:
- Zovirax capsules may cause drowsiness, dizziness, vision changes, or lightheadedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Zovirax capsules with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Zovirax capsules may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
- Zovirax capsules may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Zovirax capsules. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Zovirax capsules is not a cure for genital herpes and will not prevent the virus from spreading. Avoid sexual intercourse when sores are present to prevent infecting your partner. You can also be contagious and spread the herpes virus but not have any signs or symptoms at all. This is called asymptomatic viral shedding.
- Lab tests, including kidney function and serum urea nitrogen (BUN), may be performed while you use Zovirax capsules. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use Zovirax capsules with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion, drowsiness, or hallucinations.
- Zovirax capsules is not recommended for use in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Zovirax capsules while you are pregnant. Zovirax capsules is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Zovirax capsules, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of Zovirax capsules:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Diarrhea; general body discomfort; headache; nausea/vomiting.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); aggressive behavior; blood in the urine; confusion; decreased consciousness; decreased urination; hallucinations; lower back pain; mental or mood changes; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; unusual bruising or bleeding.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include agitation; coma; seizures (convulsions); sleepiness; sluggishness.Proper storage of Zovirax capsules:
Store Zovirax capsules at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Zovirax capsules out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about Zovirax capsules, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Zovirax capsules is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Zovirax capsules or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Zovirax capsules. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Zovirax capsules. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Zovirax capsules.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.