Acyclovir (Zovirax) is a drug used to treat infections caused by certain viruses.

It does not cure the infection but it will help decrease pain and itching, help with healing, and may help reduce the number of outbreaks when taken on a regular basis.

Acyclovir has been used to treat infections caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella zoster virus (VZV, chickenpox), and herpes zoster virus (shingles).

It may also be used in patients with impaired immune function to help prevent infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Acyclovir can be given by mouth as tablets, capsules and suspension. It is also available as an injection for intravenous (IV) administration. Acyclovir ointment and cream are available for topical use.

  • Give this medication only as directed by your child's doctor.
  • Give this medication for the full time prescribed, even if the symptoms clear up after a few days.
  • For capsules, have your child swallow the capsule whole followed by a glass of water. Encourage your child to drink adequate fluids throughout the say while taking this medication to avoid being dehydrated.
  • For liquid medication, shake the bottle well. Use a medicine measuring cup or oral syringe to give the right amount.
  • Capsules and liquid can be taken with or without meals, but should be taken the same way each time.
  • For topical ointment and cream, do not give by mouth and do not apply to the eye or inside the nose and mouth. Wear a rubber glove to apply the ointment to your child’s skin as directed by your doctor
  • Contact your child's doctor if no improvement occurs within a few days.
  • Keep this medication at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, heat and moisture.
  • Do not use after expiration date on the package / bottle.
  • If too much medication is taken by accident, call the Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC), 513-636-5111 or 1-800-222-1222, or call your child's doctor immediately.
  • Keep this medication out of the reach of children.

For any medication information related to your child's dosing schedule and/or missed doses, contact the healthcare provider who prescribed the medication.

Call your child's doctor if any of these continue or become bothersome:

  • Headache
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease in frequency of urination or amount of urine
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Rash or severe skin irritation
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • Blood in urine or has decreased urine output
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Difficulty breathing

If your child has genital herpes and is sexually active, your child should avoid all sexual contact so as not to infect partners. The infection is more likely to spread if sores are present.

Using latex condoms may help prevent the spread of herpes. To prevent infecting others, make sure all sores are completely healed and scabs have fallen off before having sexual contact with others.

Last Updated 11/2013