What Factors Affect Zovirax® Dosage?

Madeleine A.

Factors affecting a proper Zovirax® dosage include what the medicine is being used to treat, the age and weight of the patient, whether he's taking any other medications, and what existing medical conditions he has. The standard Zovirax® dosage is 800 mg for five days, taken four times daily. Zovirax&reg is used in the treatment of genital herpes, shingles, and chicken pox. Shingles is a viral infection that typically causes a unilateral, or one-sided, rash accompanied by tingling or burning pain. The rash generally forms blisters that can break, and when this occurs, the virus can be spread to others.

Shingles on an adult.
Shingles on an adult.

Even at the standard Zovirax® dosage, side effects can occur. These can include nausea and vomiting, headaches, diarrhea, and generally feeling sick. Most people are able to tolerate the standard Zovirax® dosage, but if side effects becomes severe, the Zovirax® dosage can be reduced. This medication is available only by prescription and only after a comprehensive medical evaluation has been done.

Rare but serious side effects from Zovirax&reg can occur and may include unusual bleeding or bruising, agitated behavior, and decreased urinary output. In addition, seizures, vivid dreams, and hallucinations can occur. Also, this medication can cause a severe allergic reaction, and signs may include wheezing or chest pain, as well as swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth, and throat. If signs of an severe allergic occur, emergency medical evaluation and treatment need to be sought. Less serious side effects may include rash, hives, and itching.

Other rare effects of Zovirax&reg include water retention, visual changes, fever, and tremors. Hair loss, sensitivity to the sun and muscle pain can also occur during treatment. If lowering the Zovirax® dosage is not effective in eliminating or reducing side effects, treatment may need to be discontinued. Alternative treatments to symptoms of shingles and chicken pox include taking warm oatmeal baths, applying calamine lotion, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Children under the age of 18 should not take aspirin products because of the risk of a serious medical condition called Reyes syndrome.

Women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy or nursing a baby need to discuss the benefits and risks of Zovirax&reg with their healthcare providers before beginning treatment. It has been shown that Zovirax&reg has the ability to pass through breast milk and is not known if this can pose harm to a child. It is important to note, however, that the amount of this medication that passes through the breast milk is small and may not affect the baby. If a breastfeeding women does take Zovirax&reg, she should be alert for side effects or signs of distress in her baby.

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