Which medications in the drug class Antiviral agents are used in the treatment of Chickenpox?

Updated: Aug 31, 2020
  • Author: Anthony J Papadopoulos, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Antiviral agents

Nucleoside analogues are initially phosphorylated by viral thymidine kinase to eventually form a nucleoside triphosphate. These molecules inhibit herpes virus polymerase 30-50 times more than the human host cells alpha-DNA polymerase.

Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Acyclovir inhibits activity of both herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 and HSV-2. It has affinity for viral thymidine kinase and, once phosphorylated, causes deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) chain termination when acted on by DNA polymerase. Patients experience less pain and faster resolution of cutaneous lesions when acyclovir is given within 48 hours from rash onset. It may prevent recurrent outbreaks. Early initiation of therapy is imperative.

Famciclovir (Famvir)

Famciclovir is a prodrug that, when biotransformed into the active metabolite, penciclovir, may inhibit viral deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis/replication.

Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

Valacyclovir is a prodrug that is rapidly converted to the active drug acyclovir. It is more expensive than acyclovir but has a more convenient dosing regimen.

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