Zovirax – Aciclovir uses, dose and side effects


5% cream

What Zovirax cream is and what it is used for

Zovirax 5% cream contains the active substance aciclovir and is used to treat cold sores on the lips and face caused by the herpes simplex virus in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age. Zovirax inhibits the virus’s ability to multiply, which makes the infection stop and heal.

The cause of many cold sores is a virus called herpes simplex. The virus et causes blisters or sores on the lips in particular but also on other parts of the face. Mouth ulcer infection can break out when the body’s immune system is impaired, e.g. in the event of a cold or other infection. Stress, strong sun, cold, or menstruation can also trigger the symptoms.

Treatment with Zovirax cream shortens the healing process by about half a day compared to the corresponding cream without the active component.

Aciclovir found in Zovirax may also be approved to treat other conditions not mentioned in this product information. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or another healthcare professional if you have any further questions, and always follow their instructions.

What you need to know before using Zovirax cream

Do not use Zovirax cream

– if you are hypersensitive (allergic) to aciclovir, valaciclovir, propylene glycol, or any other ingredient in this medicine.

Warnings and precautions

Talk to your doctor before using Zovirax cream:

  • If you have a weakened immune system, e.g. if you have AIDS or have had a transplant
  • If you are not sure if you have cold sores
  • If you have severe mouth ulcers

The cream should only be used for cold sores on the lips or face. Do not use the cream inside the mouth or nose or against other skin infections such as genital herpes.

The cream can be slightly irritating to mucous membranes. Avoid getting the cream in your eyes, mouth, and other mucous membranes. If it does happen, rinse with plenty of lukewarm water. If you accidentally get cream in your mouth, it is not dangerous to accidentally swallow the cream.

Other medicines and Zovirax cream

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken, or might take any other medicines.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, think you may be pregnant, or are planning to have a baby, consult your doctor before using this medicine.

When Zovirax is used topically, very little aciclovir is absorbed into the body.

Zovirax is unlikely to affect children who are breastfed. However, consult a doctor for more than occasional use.

Driving ability and use of machinery

No known influence on the ability to drive or use machines.

You are responsible for assessing whether you are fit to drive a motor vehicle or perform work that requires increased attention. One of the factors that can affect your ability in these respects is the use of drugs due to their effects and/or side effects. A description of these effects and side effects can be found in other sections. Read all the information in this leaflet for guidance. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.

Zovirax cream contains propylene glycol, cetyl alcohol, and sodium lauryl sulfate

Zovirax cream contains propylene glycol

This medicine contains 400 mg/g propylene glycol.

Zovirax cream contains cetyl alcohol

Cetyl alcohol can cause local skin reactions (e.g. contact dermatitis).

Zovirax cream contains sodium lauryl sulfate

This medicine contains 7.5 mg/g of sodium lauryl sulfate.

Sodium lauryl sulfate may cause local skin reactions (stinging or burning) or increase skin reactions caused by other products used on the same skin surface.

How to use Zovirax cream

Always use this medicine exactly as described in this leaflet or as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.

Adults and young people over 12 years of age

Treatment should be started as soon as possible after the first signs of infection, e.g. itching and tingling sensation. You can start treatment even if blisters have formed.

Apply cream on the affected area 5 times a day, about 4 hours apart. The entire affected area including the edges of the mouth sore should be covered with cream.

The usual processing time is 4 days. If symptoms worsen or do not improve 5 days after stopping treatment, consult a doctor for advice.

Wash your hands before and after treatment to avoid worsening or spreading the infection.

Do not apply the cream directly before a meal, as the cream can then be easily licked off.

To avoid the spread of infection to other parts of the body or in the eyes, you should avoid touching the wound unnecessarily or letting others do it.

When dosing with the pump: Hold your fingertip completely against the opening of the pump to avoid getting too much cream out. The first time it may be necessary to press the pump several times before the cream comes out.

Use for children and adolescents

Zovirax should not be used by children younger than 12 years.

If you have used too much Zovirax cream

It is unlikely that any serious problems will occur if you have accidentally swallowed some cream or if you have applied a large amount of cream to your skin at one time.

If you have accidentally swallowed a large amount of medicine or if, for example, a child accidentally ingested the medicine. contact a doctor or hospital for an assessment of the risk and advice.

If you forget to use Zovirax cream

Apply cream as soon as you think of it and continue the treatment as before.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Stop taking Zovirax cream and contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms ( angioedema ):

  • swelling of the face, tongue, or throat; difficulty swallowing, hives, and difficulty breathing. This is a very rare side effect (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 users). 

Other side effects: 

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 users): Burning, stinging at the application site, mild drying or peeling of the skin. Itching.

Rare (may affect up to 1 in 1,000 users): Skin redness ( erythema ). Contact eczema ( contact dermatitis ) at the application site.

How to store Zovirax cream

Store out of sight and reach of children.

Use before the expiry date stated on the packaging.

Store the cream at a maximum of 25°C and protect it against cold.

Medicines must not be thrown into the drain or among the household waste. Ask the pharmacist how to dispose of medicines that are no longer used. These measures will help to protect the environment.

Contents of the packaging and other information

Contents declaration

– The active ingredient is aciclovir. One gram of cream contains 50 mg of aciclovir.

– Other ingredients are poloxamer, white petrolatum, cetostearyl alcohol, liquid paraffin, glycerol monostearate, macrogol stearate, dimethicone, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, and purified water.

Appearance and package sizes of the medicine

Appearance: White cream

Packaging: Aluminum tube with plastic screw cap (2 g) or polypropylene pump packaging (2 g). Not all packaging types may be marketed.

Marketing authorization holder and manufacturer

Marketing Authorisation Holder

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare ApS

PO Box 61

2610 Rødovre


Phone: 020-100579


GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare ApS Postboks 61 2610 Rødovre Denmark

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