Acyclovir (Zovirax) Nursing Considerations

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What is the Generic Name


What is the Trade Name for Acyclovir


What is the Indication for Acyclovir

Genital herpes, herpes zoster, chicken pox

What is the Action of Acyclovir

Interferes with viral DNA synthesis

What is the Therapeutic Class of Acyclovir


What is the Pharmacologic Class of Acyclovir

Purine analogues

What are the Nursing Considerations for Acyclovir

  • May cause seizures, renal failure, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura syndrome, diarrhea, dizziness, nausea
  • Monitor renal panel during administration
  • Assess lesions
  • Instruct patient to use proper protection during sexual intercourse


What does Acyclovir look like

acyclovir nursing considerations
By Sage Ross - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Acyclovir Audio Lecture

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Nursing Care and Pathophysiology for Herpes Zoster – Shingles


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Hey guys, let’s talk about acyclovir. Also known as Zovirax, acyclovir comes in a tablet form, which you can see here in this picture, but also in a capsule, oral suspension IV, and even a topical ointment. Okay, guys, remember that the therapeutic class is what the drug does to the body and the pharmacologic class is the actual chemical effect that the drug has. So acyclovir is an antiviral medication that helps to slow the growth of viral infections in the body. The pharmacologic class of acyclovir is it is a purine analog, which, long story short, means it blocks the replication of the viral DNA. So, guys, the action of acyclovir is that it interferes with the viral DNA synthesis, meaning it stops the spread of the virus. Acyclovir is used to treat infections that are caused by the herpes virus, like genital or oral herpes, herpes, zoster, or shingles, and varicella, also known as chickenpox. Important: acyclovir will not cure the herpes virus; it only stops the growth and treats the symptoms. So side effects aren’t super common with acyclovir, but the ones that we often see are an overall sense of malaise or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and a headache. 

So guys remember to assess your patient for renal impairment or seizure disorders because acyclovir can make these issues worse. Use caution in immunocompromised. Patients’ doses may need to be altered. Monitor the lesions to see if the treatment is working and remember to teach your patient to use protection with sexual intercourse, and to always take the full dose of the medication. Guys, I once had a patient in a clinic that was under the impression that they would be cured of general herpes after taking acyclovir. Remember to teach your patient that this medication will not cure only help the disease process. That’s it for acyclovir or Zovirax. Now go out and be your best self today and as always happy nursing.

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