Zovirax comes as a cream or tablets and is used to help remove the visible symptoms of herpes and leave you with clear skin that’s free from discomfort. It’s not a cure for the herpes virus but can work to clear up the sores that show during an outbreak and speed up the healing process.
The cream is used to help treat cold sores (usually found on the face or mouth) whereas the tablets are more commonly used to treat genital herpes and can reduce the severity of an outbreak, as well as the frequency of recurring outbreaks.
How does Zovirax work?
The main ingredient in Zovirax is aciclovir, a common ingredient used to treat both cold sores and genital herpes. Aciclovir acts by inhibiting viral DNA replication, which helps to clear the visible sores and swelling caused by the virus along with preventing future outbreaks. It can also decrease the risk of the virus spreading to other parts of your body.
What doses of Zovirax are there?
There are different doses of Zovirax available, depending on the type and severity of your herpes outbreak. Our clinicians can talk to you about the best treatment and dose for your herpes, but the doses available are:
Zovirax 200mg tablets - One dose of the tablet is available
Zovirax Cream 200mg / 5ml - One bottle contains 125ml
Zorivax Cream 0.05 - A cream containing 5% aciclovir, available in 2g or 10g tubes
How to take Zovirax
How you take Zovirax depends on whether you’re using the cream or taking tablets. Our clinicians can guide you on how to use it, and you can find full instructions in the package information leaflet that comes with your medication too. You should read through this before you start taking your treatment.
If you have Zovirax tablets, usually you should take one tablet five times per day for 3-5 days to treat a recurrent herpes outbreak. It works best when you first have an outbreak.
Zovirax cream can be applied, topically, five times per day around the area of the cold sore.
To take Zovirax tablets:
Take one tablet five times per day for three to five days to treat a recurrent herpes outbreak.
You can take your Zovirax tablets with or without food.
To use Zovirax cream:
Apply the cream to the affected area five times per day.
How long does it take Zovirax to work?
The time it takes for Zovirax to work can vary, and it depends on how severe your herpes outbreak is. Treatment should be effective within five days of beginning your course. If your outbreak lasts longer than this despite using medication, you should send our clinician a message to get some advice.
What should I do if I make a mistake when using Zovirax ?
If you make a mistake when you use Zovirax cream or Zovirax tablets there are some things you can do:
if you miss a dose of Zovirax tablets, take it as soon as you remember but skip the missed dose if it’s nearly time for your next dose. Don’t take two doses at once
if you take too many Zovirax tablets by mistake, seek emergency medical attention for guidance on what to do next
if you forget to apply your Zovirax cream, apply it as normal (up to five times per day).
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How is Zovirax different from other treatments for herpes?
Aciclovir (the active ingredient in Zovirax) is one of the most popular herpes treatments and alternatives to this work in a similar way. Not all of these alternatives are available as creams and in tablet form like Zovirax is. So you have some choice about how you use it.
How effective is Zovirax?
Zovirax and its main active ingredient, aciclovir, can reduce the amount of time the virus sheds for. This shedding is a factor in why herpes is contagious. Zovirax can also help lesions to heal considerably faster.
It’s not a ‘cure’ for herpes as such, but Zovirax can help to tackle its severity, and make it less likely that you’ll experience outbreaks of the condition in the future.
Is Zovirax similar to any other treatments?
Zovirax is a very well-known brand name that uses aciclovir to treat herpes outbreaks. You can buy unbranded aciclovir to treat herpes which works in the same way. But the packaging and the appearance of the medication itself may differ.
Buying a generic version is usually cheaper than Zovirax, but some people like to use a name brand because of personal preference. So it’s a matter of personal choice, really.
Which version of Zovirax should I use?
The type of Zovirax you use really depends on what you're treating. Zovirax cream is used to treat skin symptoms of herpes topically, and is applied directly to the cold sore or lesion. So whether you have a cold sore or a herpes lesion on your genitals, Zovirax cream is probably best to treat the signs.
Tablets are usually used for genital herpes and are used to limit symptoms, prevent future outbreaks from happening, and stopping the virus from spreading to other parts of the body. So it's best for managing genital herpes outbreaks.
Do I need a prescription for Zovirax?
Yes. Zovirax is a prescription only treatment, so in the first instance, a clinician will need to make sure that it’s safe and suitable for you to use, having checked your health background.
Our clinical team can help you to choose the right medication for your needs, whether you’re looking for treatment for cold sores or genital herpes.
Why should I buy Zovirax online with Treated?
At Treated, we believe that everyone should have access to the treatment they need. We make it easy for you to get the right treatment for your herpes based on your health and circumstances. Our clinicians can advise you on which treatments are safe and suitable for you to use, and you can choose which medication you’d like from there.
We’ll also get in touch with you on a regular basis to ensure your medication is working the way it should. And if it isn’t, we can look into changing your dose, or explore alternative treatments with you. If you’ve got any questions, send us a message via your account.
Corey, L., Nahmias, A.J., Guinan, M.E., Benedetti, J.K., Critchlow, C.W. and Holmes, K.K. (1982). A Trial of Topical Acyclovir in Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Infections. New England Journal of Medicine, 306(22), pp.1313–1319.
Kinghorn, G.R., Barbara Turner, E., Barton, I.G., Potter, C.W., Burke, C.A. and Fiddian, A.Paul. (1983). Efficacy of topical acyclovir cream in first and recurrent episodes of genital herpes. Antiviral Research, 3(5-6), pp.291–301.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.
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