Zovirax is an antiviral drug prescribed to treat the herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, which includes cold sores and genital herpes as well as varicella-zoster known as shingles and chickenpox; all of which are contagious. Zovirax, or generic Acyclovir will not cure you of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 or 2 or the varicella-zoster virus, but it can help to reduce the amount of virus in your body. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
When taken as directed, Zovirax is actually converted to its active form by the virus itself. As the virus tries to multiply, it uses the active form of Zovirax rather than the therapeutic compound called nucleoside that it usually uses to make DNA so it can replicate itself. This results in a decrease in the amount of virus is in your body and the symptoms begin to vanish until the next time it is reactivated.
Cases of chickenpox have declined somewhat over the years because many children have been immunized. For those that have received the vaccination and still become infected, the symptoms seem to be milder and recovery is faster. The chickenpox virus will then lay dormant in your body until, for some people, something during adulthood triggers it. It is now called shingles and causes a rash with blisters that spreads along the lines of your nervous system such as the left or right side of your head/face and neck, or just above your waistline near the bottom of your ribs.
Individuals with genital herpes can also benefit from taking Zovirax to limit the time of each outbreak but it will not protect you from transmitting the virus to others so you should talk to your doctor about safe sex measures.
Ask your doctor about any health risks of taking Zovirax while you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Discuss other medical conditions or allergies with your doctor and list any current drugs you take or use, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements, so your doctor can determine if Zovirax is the right medication for you.
Zovirax is not a cure for this virus but a treatment to reduce your symptoms, provided that you take it for the duration specified by the prescribing physician. Never share Zovirax or other medications with others; even if they have the same symptoms as you. Herpes can be passed on during childbirth to your newborn if you have any herpes lesions so you should discuss whether your doctor will recommend a cesarean section as a precaution.