Which medications in the drug class Antiviral agents are used in the treatment of Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV)?

Updated: Feb 15, 2019
  • Author: Wayne E Anderson, DO, FAHS, FAAN; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Antiviral agents

Three medications may help reduce pain and symptoms and the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia. All need to be used with caution in patients with renal compromise. Hemolytic uremic syndrome is rare but has been reported. All 3 agents may be used for 7-10 d, depending on response. Only acyclovir is available in an intravenous form.

Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Patients experience less pain and faster resolution of cutaneous lesions when used within 48 h from rash onset. May prevent recurrent outbreaks.

Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

Prodrug rapidly converted to the active drug acyclovir. More expensive but has a more convenient dosing regimen than acyclovir.

Famciclovir (Famvir)

Prodrug that, when biotransformed into active metabolite penciclovir, may inhibit viral DNA synthesis/replication.

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