Zovirax is one of the best-selling products on the market for cold sores. It is available as a dispersible tablet, suspension fluid or as a cream, and is also adept at tackling shingles (herpes zoster).

At the moment, no cure for cold sores exists, but treatment can help. And the sooner you act, the quicker you can recover. If you want reliable medication fast, Treated.com can help.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.

Zovirax is a popular medicine indicated for the treatment of various types of herpes. It is manufactured by GSK / GlaxoSmithKline and is widely used to medicate the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and -2), which can cause cold sores and oral blisters during periods of activity. It is also prescribed for the medication of herpes zoster infections (shingles). Zovirax has been developed into several different forms: a suspension fluid, dispersible tablet and cream; so users can choose the method of application they most prefer.

  1. Widely-used antiviral product
  2. Provides a rapid response to symptoms
  3. Choose from a cream, suspension fluid or dispersible tablet

The containing ingredient, aciclovir, was perfected in the second half of the twentieth century, and is considered an essential part of modern antiviral medicine.

Herpes is the name given to a category of viruses, mostly affecting the skin. Among these are herpes zoster (known more commonly as shingles), and herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2. HSV-1 is the condition which most commonly causes oral cold sores; but these symptoms can be caused by HSV-2 as well.

Once an individual is infected, HSV will go through periods of activity and remission, and will usually return with diminishing frequency as a person gets older. The most common contributory factor in reactivations is a weakened immune system, meaning that you are much more likely to succumb to a flare-up if you are fatigued, or experiencing exhaustion or stress. Both types of HSV can be transferred through physical contact with burst sores, and remain contagious until they have fully healed. Therefore, it is essential for those harboring an active infection to get treatment and recover sufficiently, particularly before engaging in oral sexual contact with someone else.

HSV is relatively common, with around 35,000 new cases of genital herpes being recorded in the UK each year. At present there is no known cure for cold sores. Australian scientists have reportedly made strides towards developing a vaccine, but maintain that this may not be available for some years. Treatment for the condition aims to reduce the longevity of symptoms, and expedite the recovery process.

Shingles, the common name given to herpes zoster, is characterised by painful or irritable red blisters on one side of the body. The condition occurs when the virus which causes chickenpox (varicella zoster), which stays present in the body after a person has recovered, reactivates. Further symptoms, such as headache and fever, may result.

Zovirax contains an ingredient which combines with the immune system to send the virus it is combatting into remission. Aciclovir, the active component in the medicine, works by curbing the action of DNA polymerase, an enzyme which cells of the virus need to duplicate themselves. After the growth of the virus has been halted, this leaves it open to attack from antibodies, which force the virus to become latent once again.

The product described here is the branded version. The patent on this medicine expired in 2009, and generic aciclovir is available to buy. You should always be aware of the facts when buying generic medicines, as some do not legally exist.

You can buy Zovirax from our pharmacy using our hassle-free online service. To do this, simply choose your product and fill out our online questionnaire. A physician will assess your answers, and if your consultation is successful, your treatment will be delivered the following working day.

Active ingredient

The main acting constituent of Zovirax is an antiviral agent called aciclovir. This medication has been used for around 40 years, and is considered to be a vital component of modern medicine. In 2009, the patent for the treatment became available for other manufacturers to produce and market; however, GlaxoSmithKline are responsible for making the original version available here for widespread use.

The active agent works by targeting the self-sustaining attributes of the herpes virus and neutralising them. To grow, the virus needs a certain enzyme, RNA polymerase, to be converted into DNA polymerase. Aciclovir restricts the conversion and resultant activity of this enzyme, therefore incapacitating the virus’s facility to multiply. Once the virus is brought to a standstill, the immune system is better able to tackle it and send it back into an inactive state.

If you’re looking for a cure for cold sores, you won’t find it. None currently exists. But if you want one of the most established treatments around for cold sores, then Zovirax could be just what you need. All you need to do is choose the type of treatment you prefer, then take our health assessment. One of our healthcare professionals will check your answers, and if they authorise your order, we’ll have it at your door by the following working day.

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Sep 13 2017


How you use Zovirax depends on what type of condition you’re using it for, how susceptible you are to side effects, and how well your immune system can stand up to infection. Always make sure you follow the instructions as outlined by your doctor, and always read the safety information leaflet prior to first use.

For Zovirax Cream:

> Apply a thin layer as advised by your doctor to the cold sores or blisters in the affected region.

For Zovirax Suspension Fluid:

> For cold sores, one dose is a 5ml spoonful; whereas four spoonfuls (20ml) is the usual dose for shingles.

And with Zovirax Dispersible tablets:

> Fully dissolve one or two tablets in water before swallowing.

Then, for all three treatments:

  1. Repeat applications as indicated by your prescriber. This might typically be a maximum of 4 or 5 doses a day, separated by 4-hour intervals.
  2. You may be asked to repeat this process for 5 consecutive days for the recurrence of a cold sore infection, or for 9 or 10 consecutive days to treat an initial infection.
  3. Commence treatment as soon as symptoms begin to develop.
  4. Try to ensure the site of infection remains clean.
  5. Do not exceed the dose prescribed.
  6. Never make up for a missed dose by doubling up on the following one. If you neglect to take your medication, simply carry on with the course as prescribed.
  7. If symptoms persist beyond the treatment window, speak to your doctor.

For more information, consult the leaflet provided with the relevant medicine. If you are still unsure how to take any of the above, approach your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Download Zovirax Suspension patient information leaflet

Download Zovirax Dispersible patient information leaflet

Download Zovirax Cream patient information leaflet

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Sep 13 2017
Side effects & Warnings

Side effects

This product has been tested thoroughly and used widely for a number of years. However, this does not make the medication entirely risk-free. It may not be suitable for some, and may cause side effects. Although only a minority of users may experience these, it remains a necessity to be aware of them, so that you can respond accordingly if you notice anything unusual when using this medicine.

Zovirax Cream

Uncommon (1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 people):

Irritation or itching of the skin, burning sensation, flaking.

Rare (1 in 1000 to 1 in 10000 people):

Redness of the skin, increased sensitivity, dermatitis.

Zovirax Suspension Fluid

Common (1 in 10 to 1 in 100 people):

Headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, increased bowel frequency, skin rashes, skin irritation, increased photosensitivity.

Uncommon (1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 people):
Severe skin rash, hair loss.

Rare (1 in 1000 people to 1 in 10000 people):
Tiredness, breathlessness, confusion, hallucinations, tremors, loss of coordination, abnormal test laboratory results.

Zovirax dispersible tablets

Common (1 in 10 to 1 in 100 people):
Heightened photosensitivity, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, skin rashes, itching, fatigue.

Uncommon (1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 people):
Severe irritation of the skin, hair loss.

Rare (1 in 1000 to 1 in 10000 people):
Oral and facial swelling, breathing problems, fluctuating test results, difficulty speaking, liver or kidney problems, photosensitivity, agitation, confusion, feelings of weakness, convulsions, hallucinations, reduced coordination.

The side effects listed for each version of this medication above are only a selection. For a more detailed account of the known possible side effects for each, consult the leaflet supplied with product itself, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. If you begin to experience any of the above or notice anything else which concerns you, seek medical advice or go to your nearest hospital right away.


Taking it with other medicines

Inform your prescribing physician if you are currently using or have recently used any other forms of medication.

Zovirax Cream currently has no known interactions with any other medicines.

The function of Zovirax Dispersible tablets may be affected by probenecid, cimetidine or mycophenolate mofetil.

Zovirax Suspension Fluid may not be suitable for use in conjunction with cimetidine, probenecid or mycophenolate.

Never use more than one treatment for cold sores or any other form of herpes at any one time unless explicitly advised to do so by a doctor.

Conditions to look out for

If you are taking any medicines for liver or kidney problems, AIDS, or if you have a condition which inhibits the function of your immune system, or if you have undergone a bone marrow transplant, then a doctor may choose not to issue Zovirax. Always disclose your medical history to your prescriber so that they can make an informed decision regarding your treatment.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before you use this product if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to conceive or think you might be pregnant.

Driving and machinery

Make sure that Zovirax does not make you feel tired or drowsy before you commence driving or operating machinery.

Over 65

Speak to your doctor before using Zovirax if you are over the age of 65.

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Sep 13 2017
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Zovirax 200mg/5ml

Zovirax 400mg/5ml

Zovirax 5%

Zovirax 200mg


Can I still drink alcohol?

Yes. Zovirax should not interact with alcohol. However, we would recommend drinking alcohol in sensible amounts, so that you can continue to apply your treatment in the manner prescribed by your doctor.

Will I still be able to drive?

In most cases, the treatment should not inhibit the user’s ability to drive. But, in the event that side effects do occur, a user’s judgment and reaction times may become impaired, and in these cases, we would suggest you avoid driving and seek medical attention.

Can I take the medicine while pregnant?

As the medicine can be harmful to your baby if taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding, we would only recommend its use in cases where your doctor thinks you absolutely need it.

How should I store it?

At room temperature, below 30 degrees. Ensure it is kept in an environment which is not subject to excessive amounts of sunlight or moisture.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

Zovirax Cream contains:

Aciclovir, cetostearyl alcohol, mineral oil, poloxamer 407, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, water, and white petrolatum.

Zovirax dispersible tablets:

Aciclovir, microcrystalline cellulose, aluminium magnesium silicate, sodium starch glycolate, povidone K30, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, macrogol 400, titanium dioxide [E171], and macrogol 8000.

Zovirax Suspension Fluid:

Aciclovir, sorbitol solution, glycerol, dispersible cellulose, methyl parahydroxybenzoate, propyl parahydroxybenzoate, banana flavour, vanillin and purified water.

If you suspect that you may be allergic to any of the ingredients described above, do not use these medications and speak to your doctor about alternative treatment.

Is it available over-the-counter?

Lower strength forms of this treatment are available without a prescription. However, those versions with a lower potency may only be suitable at treating milder cases of infection, and not be sufficient at effectively tackling symptoms in more severe cases. The strength provided here, which is adept at combatting outbreaks of varying strengths, is only available with a prescription.

At Treated.com, we offer our customers everything they need in one place, including; a wide choice of products, secure consultations, private prescriptions, a reliable dispensing pharmacy service and speedy delivery. We work with GMC-registered doctors who will only draw up a prescription for you if they deem the treatment safe for you to use.

Is it right for me?

You can buy Zovirax online from us in a variety of forms. Which one you choose depends on which method of treatment better suits you. To see if Zovirax is the right product for you, take our short medical survey. A qualified physician will review the answers you provide. Once your treatment has been confirmed as suitable for you, we’ll deliver it to your door in just one working day.


Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Sep 13 2017
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