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Zovirax Cream Side Effects

Generic Name: acyclovir topical

Note: This document contains side effect information about acyclovir topical. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Zovirax Cream.

For the Consumer

Applies to acyclovir topical: topical cream, topical ointment

Along with its needed effects, acyclovir topical (the active ingredient contained in Zovirax Cream) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Some side effects of acyclovir topical may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Mild pain, burning, or stinging
Less common
  • Itching
  • Itching, stinging, or redness of the genital area
  • skin rash

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to acyclovir topical: topical cream, topical ointment


The more commonly reported adverse effects have included local application site reactions including transient stinging and burning.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Mild pain including transient burning and stinging (30%) at application site
Common (1% to 10%): Local pruritus
Rare (less than 0.1%): Erythema
Frequency not reported: Dry lips, desquamation, dryness of skin, cracked lips, burning skin, flakiness of skin
Postmarketing reports: Contact dermatitis, eczema[Ref]

The incidence of events between the drug and placebo group appears to be similar. Where sensitivity tests have been conducted, the reactive substance has often been the component of the cream rather than the active drug.[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Angioedema, anaphylaxis


Postmarketing reports: Edema


1. "Product Information. Zovirax Topical (acyclovir topical)." Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Costa Mesa, CA.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

3. "Product Information. Zovirax (acyclovir)." Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc, Morgantown, WV.

4. Gnann JW Jr, Barton NH, Whitley RJ "Acyclovir: mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, safety and clinical applications." Pharmacotherapy 3 (1983): 275-83

5. Koch P "No evidence of contact sensitization to acyclovir in acute dermatitis of the lips following local application of zovirax cream." Contact Dermatitis 33 (1995): 255-7

6. Gola M, Francalanci S, Brusi C, Lombardi P, Sertoli A "Contact sensitization to acyclovir." Contact Dermatitis 20 (1989): 394-5

7. Corey L, Nahmias AJ, Guinan ME, Benedetti JK, Critchlow CW, Holmes KK "A trial of topical acyclovir in genital herpes simplex virus infections." N Engl J Med 306 (1982): 1313-9

8. Wagstaff AJ, Faulds D, Goa KL "Aciclovir: a reappraisal of its antiviral activity, pharmacokinetic properties and therapeutic efficacy." Drugs 47 (1994): 153-205

9. Reichman RC, Badger GJ, Guinan ME, Nahmias AJ, Keeney RE, Davis LG, Ashikaga T, Dolin R "Topically administered acyclovir in the treatment of recurrent herpes simplex genitalis: a controlled trial." J Infect Dis 147 (1983): 336-40

Some side effects of Zovirax Cream may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.