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What is this medication?

Acyclovir, Zovirax 
Antiviral Agent; Topical

Indicated for treatment of herpes labialis, mucocutaneous herpes simplex virus in immunocompromised patients.

How does this medication work? 

Acyclovir/Zovirax is converted to acyclovir monophosphate by virus-specific thymidine kinase then further converted to acyclovir triphosphate by other cellular enzymes.  Acyclovir triphosphate inhibits DNA synthesis and viral replication by competing with deoxyguanosine triphosphate for viral DNA polymerase and being incorporated into viral DNA.

How should I take this medication? 

Herpes labialis:
Topical cream: Apply 5 times daily for 4 days

Mucocutaneous HSV:
Topical ointment: 
1/2” ribbon of ointment for a 4” square surface area every 3 hours (6 times daily) for 7 days

How to Take: Apply as early as possible following the onset of prodromal symptoms or when lesions appear. Wash hands with soap and water prior to application and after application. Apply enough to adequately cover all lesions, including the outer margin. Apply using a finger cot or rubber glove to avoid transmission to other parts of the body or to other persons.

You Need to Avoid:  The cream is not for use on the genitals, in the eye, mouth, or mucous membranes. The ointment is not for use in the eye. Avoid unnecessary rubbing of the affected areas. Do not apply other topical products to the affected areas during therapy.

What should I watch for while using this medication? 

Before starting Acyclovir (Topical), Zovirax make sure your physician is aware of any allergies, medications you currently take.  Physical contact should be limited while lesions are present, however transmission may still occur in the absence of symptoms.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at or below 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15° to 30°C (59° to 86°F). Protect from light, heat, and moisture. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication?

Local irritation

Note this is not a complete list of side effects, only the most common.