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Zovirax Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Zovirax (acyclovir) is a synthetic nucleoside analogue that interferes with the replication of herpes viruses. Zovirax is used to treat shingles, chickenpox, and genital herpes. Acyclovir is the name of the available generic. Side effects of Zovirax include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and malaise.
Zovirax tablets are available in 200, 400 and 800 mg strengths and as a liquid suspension with 200 mg strength per 5 ml. Usual doses are 800 mg every 4 hours, 5 times a day for 10 days for shingles; doses for genital herpes infection are the same interval but start with 200 mg. Doses for chickenpox is the same as shingles except it goes for only 5 days for adults; for children ages 2 and up are weight based (20 mg per Kg) up to 40 Kg, 5 times a day for 5 days. Over 40 Kg, the person gets the adult dose for 5 days. Serious side effects of Zovirax include renal function problem. There are no good studies on pregnant women. Zovirax may be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Caution is advised with use of Zovirax in women who are breastfeeding since the drug is secreted in breast milk. Safety and efficacy has not been studied in pediatric patients below the age of 2 years.
Our Zovirax Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
What is Patient Information in Detail?
Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.
Zovirax in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- pain in your lower back;
- urinating less than usual or not at all;
- easy bruising or bleeding; or
- unusual weakness.
Less serious side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach pain;
- headache, feeling light-headed; or
- swelling in your hands or feet.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Zovirax (Acyclovir) »
What is Patient Information Overview?
A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.
Zovirax Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: dizziness, drowsiness, signs of kidney problems (such as a change in the amount of urine, unusual back/side pain), mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), shaky/unsteady movement, trouble speaking.
This medication may rarely cause a life-threatening disorder that affects the blood cells, kidneys, and other parts of the body. This disorder is more likely to occur if you have conditions related to a weakened immune system (such as HIV disease, bone marrow transplant, kidney transplant). Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: extreme tiredness, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, easy bruising/bleeding, new fever, bloody/dark urine, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, sudden vision changes, loss of consciousness, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the entire patient information overview for Zovirax (Acyclovir)»
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Zovirax FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
Short-Term Administration: The most frequent adverse events reported during clinical trials of treatment of genital herpes with ZOVIRAX (acyclovir) 200 mg administered orally 5 times daily every 4 hours for 10 days were nausea and/or vomiting in 8 of 298 patient treatments (2.7%). Nausea and/or vomiting occurred in 2 of 287 (0.7%) patients who received placebo.
Long-Term Administration: The most frequent adverse events reported in a clinical trial for the prevention of recurrences with continuous administration of 400 mg (two 200-mg capsules) 2 times daily for 1 year in 586 patients treated with ZOVIRAX (acyclovir) were nausea (4.8%) and diarrhea (2.4%). The 589 control patients receiving intermittent treatment of recurrences with ZOVIRAX (acyclovir) for 1 year reported diarrhea (2.7%), nausea (2.4%), and headache (2.2%).
The most frequent adverse event reported during 3 clinical trials of treatment of herpes zoster (shingles) with 800 mg of oral ZOVIRAX (acyclovir) 5 times daily for 7 to 10 days in 323 patients was malaise (11.5%). The 323 placebo recipients reported malaise (11.1%).
The most frequent adverse event reported during 3 clinical trials of treatment of chickenpox with oral ZOVIRAX (acyclovir) at doses of 10 to 20 mg/kg 4 times daily for 5 to 7 days or 800 mg 4 times daily for 5 days in 495 patients was diarrhea (3.2%). The 498 patients receiving placebo reported diarrhea (2.2%).
Observed During Clinical Practice: In addition to adverse events reported from clinical trials, the following events have been identified during post-approval use of ZOVIRAX (acyclovir) . Because they are reported voluntarily from a population of unknown size, estimates of frequency cannot be made. These events have been chosen for inclusion due to either their seriousness, frequency of reporting, potential causal connection to ZOVIRAX (acyclovir) , or a combination of these factors.
Nervous: Aggressive behavior, agitation, ataxia, coma, confusion, decreased consciousness, delirium, dizziness, dysarthria, encephalopathy, hallucinations, paresthesia, psychosis, seizure, somnolence, tremors. These symptoms may be marked, particularly in older adults or in patients with renal impairment (see PRECAUTIONS).
Digestive: Diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress, nausea.
Special Senses: Visual abnormalities
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Zovirax (Acyclovir) »
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