Virus Home > Zovirax Ointment

Zovirax ointment is available by prescription and is used for treating genital herpes and cold sores. These conditions are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and the medication works by preventing the virus from multiplying. The ointment is to be used on the skin and should not be ingested. Common side effects include mild pain, itching, and swelling.

What Is Zovirax Ointment?

Zovirax® ointment (acyclovir ointment) is a prescription antiviral medication approved for the following uses:
 
  • Treating an initial genital herpes infection (but not for subsequent outbreaks) in people with normal immune systems
     
  • Treating non-life-threatening genital herpes or cold sores in people with weakened immune systems (such as those with HIV or AIDS).
     
This article refers to the ointment form of Zovirax, which is different from the cream form (see Zovirax Cream).
 
(Click Zovirax Ointment Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes It?

Zovirax ointment is made by GlaxoSmithKline for Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC.
 

How Does It Work?

Genital herpes and cold sores are caused by viruses, specifically the herpes simplex viruses (HSV). Zovirax ointment is an antiviral medication that helps the body fight the infection. It does this by preventing the virus from multiplying.
 
It is important to understand that once a person has been infected with these viruses, they never go away. Instead, they remain inactive in certain nerve cells of the body, waiting to become active again. Treatment with Zovirax ointment does not prevent future outbreaks of genital herpes or cold sores.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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