Brands Names: Sitavig, Zovirax
Drug Class: Purine nucleosides
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Zovirax ointment is the brand name for acyclovir. It is meant for external use only. It is a very effective antiviral drug to prevent and treat herpes. Herpes often affects the skin and mucous membranes so the medicine in the form of the ointment can be applied directly to the affected areas.
Zovirax ointment is manufactured with two concentrations of acyclovir:
- Zovirax Ointment 5% is a formulation for topical administration to treat cold sores on lips, skin and other areas.
- Zovirax Ophthalmic Ointment 3% is a formulation for eyes
Zovirax Ointment is an effective medicine for treating herpes in different locations. Zovirax is available in the form of cream, tablets and a solution for injections. The latter is used only in severe cases and only in the hospital settings.
Zovirax is prescribed mostly for herpes. The drug blocks DNA of the virus and stops its replication. It does not affect the human DNA. Zovirax Ointment should not be used for skin problems like pimples that have a bacteriological origin.
Zovirax can be prescribed in the following cases:
- To treat herpes in the first and second stages. It prevents the spread of breakouts and cold sores, reduces the risk of complications, and accelerates the healing of affected areas. The drug is also used for herpes stomatitis;
- To treat herpetic keratitis. Zovirax Ophthalmic Oinment 3% treats the inflammation of eyes;
- To treat chickenpox and shingles in adults;
- To treat frequent herpes because of HIV-induced immunodeficiency, severe surgery or chemotherapy;
- To treat eye stye. Since styes are usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria, Zovirax Ophthalmic Ointment 3% is not very effective even though it contains antibiotics. Zovirax Ophthalmic Ointment 3% is used mostly for treatment of herpes.
As well as its needed effects, Zovirax ointment may cause some unwanted side effects. It is explained by the improper use, overdose of its active ingredient and the composition. Some people can have the allergic reactions to the medicine.
To avoid complications and make treatment more efficient, carefully follow the instructions when applying the ointment:
- Apply ointment in medical gloves or individual fingertips to avoid spreading virus on healthy parts of the body;
- The minimum interval between applications should be at least 4 hours. The maximum number of applications should be no more than 5-6 times a day. For elderly people and patients with renal failure, the number of applications should not exceed 2-3 times a day;
- Use for 5 to 10 days till the cold sores get dry and covered with crust before they heal. If there is no positive dynamic, see a doctor for different treatment;
- Do not wash off the ointment. Do not take a shower for 1.5-2 hours after application;
- Apply only on the affected areas. A small amount of the ointment is enough to treat the entire affected area.
The side effects may include:
- Discomfort and pain in the place of application of the ointment;
- Burning and itching, allergic reactions in the form of urticaria;
- Inflammation of the external genitalia (vulvitis) in women.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, stop using the medication immediately and see a doctor. As a rule, after the medicine is discontinued, the side effects quickly disappear.
You should remember that Zovirax does not prevent people from getting infected with herpes. It is not recommended to use Zovirax for chickenpox in children since it is a benign disease.
Zovirax Ophthalmic Ointment 3% is used for herpetic reactions on the eyes. It can be applied up to 5 times a day for three days. Clinical studies proved that it is safe and effective medicine. It is not recommended to wear contact lenses during treatment. In case of herpes keratitis, Zovirax Ophthalmic Ointment 3% may not be enough and should be used in combination with other medications. Only a doctor can make the right diagnosis and prescribe a treatment.