Chickenpox is a highly-contagious viral condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Chickenpox is considered a mild viral illness associated with occasional complications. Chickenpox is common and highly-contagious, affecting nearly all children prior to reaching adolescence.
Chickenpox is usually a benign condition experience by children, and nearly all children recover without having an adverse event. While most people think it is useless to treat chickenpox using antibiotics, sometimes effective treatment requires use of a particular antiviral therapy. Chickenpox symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, rash, headache, weakness, loss of appetite, cough, and/or sore throat. Itchy rashes and fevers are the most typical symptoms of pediatric patients with varicella.
Even though vaccination has made chickenpox much less threatening, varicella is not entirely benign, even today. A significant number of varicella cases have been associated with complications including pneumonia and encephalitis. The purpose of antiviral treatment is to reduce virus activity, which manifests as painful, itchy blisters and lesions on the body.
Antiviral treatment is prescribed for severe cases of chickenpox in both adults and adolescents in order to prevent the development of adverse complications. Doctors recommend using Zovirax for the treatment of chickenpox. This medication is so safe and well-studied that it can be prescribed for use in small children.
Adolescents, adults, and pregnant patients are at an increased risk for complications associated with chickenpox. This is why these individuals are often treated using antivirals. Other groups of patients requiring specific treatment are immune-deficient children, those who are at high risk for severe disease, and those who already have one or more severe diseases. For these unique patient cases, doctors recommend additional therapeutic measures, which may include the administration of varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) as well as the treatment of secondary bacterial infections.
Following recovery, the chickenpox virus remains within the body and hides in the nerve ganglia. This virus can once again become active under certain conditions. In such cases, the active virus presents itself on the surface of the skin in the form of shingles. Shingles may have a protracted nature since it can take both chronic and acute forms.
Neurological pain accompanies shingles and negatively affects overall health. The virus leading to shingles can become reactivated when the immune system is compromised and weakened after a course of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or severe illnesses such as HIV.
Varicella Zoster (i.e., shingles) is more dangerous for adults because there is a high risk of serious complications. For these patients, shingles last longer, temperature is higher, painful rash is more common and causes more discomfort, and blisters take longer to heal.
In most instances, chickenpox is not dangerous for children and generally passes within 7-9 days without any further complications. Therefore, it is not recommended to treat chickenpox in children with any drugs, including Zovirax. However, adults with chickenpox require antiviral treatment.
The main active ingredient in Acyclovir is Zovirax. This drug belongs to the group of acyclic nucleosides. Acyclovir is prescribed for treating chickenpox because it is generally safe, effective, and clinically tested.
Acyclovir demonstrates two advantages:
- Initially, this drug was created to kill the herpes virus. Since the chickenpox virus belongs to the same group as herpes, it can also be treated with Acyclovir.
- Acyclovir works by suppressing the synthesis of viral DNA, thereby blocking its replication. Acyclovir treatment significantly accelerates the time to recovery.
Acyclovir is prescribed for treating severe forms of chickenpox associated with the following symptoms:
- watery painful rash on the body
- general weakness
- high temperature
Zovirax is recommended for children with severe forms of chickenpox demonstrating a high risk for complications. Doctors usually prescribe one or two tablets of Zovirax three to five times per day depending on the patient condition. A course of therapy typically lasts up to 5 days. In all instances, a doctor is expected to determine the right dosage and duration of treatment.
Zovirax is recommended for adults as well as children older than two years of age. For younger children, a doctor should determine the dose on a case-specific basis. Depending on condition severity, the course of therapy can be extended to ten days. In the most severe cases of chickenpox, patients are hospitalized, and acyclovir is administered intravenously.
Prior to taking Zovirax, a doctor should be consulted in order to determine the proper dosage. Zovirax is not recommended for breastfeeding women. However, Zovirax therapy is safe for expectant mothers. Zovirax therapy is contraindicated in patients demonstrating intolerance to its components.