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Acyclovir cream is commonly prescribed to treat cold sores. It works by preventing the virus that causes outbreaks of cold sores from multiplying. The cream is to be used on the lips and skin of the face; it should not be ingested or used inside the mouth or nose. Potential side effects of acyclovir cream include dry lips and dry skin.

What Is Acyclovir Cream?

Acyclovir cream (Zovirax® cream) is a prescription antiviral medication used to treat cold sores in adults and adolescents age 12 and older.
 
This article refers to the cream form of acyclovir, which is different from the ointment form (see Acyclovir Ointment).
 
(Click What Is Acyclovir Cream Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Side Effects of Acyclovir Cream

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with acyclovir cream. However, not everyone who uses the medication will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
 
Common side effects of acyclovir cream include, but are not limited to:
 
  • Dry lips
  • Peeling or flaking of the skin
  • Dry skin.
     
(Click Acyclovir Cream Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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