Acyclovir is a specific antiviral agent. The triphosphate form inhibits viral DNA replication by competing for incorporation into the replicating DNA chain or by inhibiting viral DNA polymerase. Cells not infected with herpesvirus are generally unaffected. oral acyclovir inhibits most herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, and varicella-zoster virus at concentrations used clinically. Oral acyclovir has an average plasma half-life of three hours and is eliminated primarily by renal mechanisms. Peak plasma concentrations occur 1.5 to 2.5 hours after administration and the oral bioavailability is 15 to 30%. Acyclovir distributes into most body tissues, including vesicular fluid and the central nervous system. Oral acyclovir is effective treatment of initial and recurrent genital herpes and can suppress frequently recurring genital herpes in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. It is also effective for acute herpes zoster in the immunocompetent and possibly immunocompromised patient. No role is established in either Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus infections. Oral acyclovir appears to be effective and relatively safe, nontoxic therapy when administered in doses of 1-4 g/d. Oral acyclovir represents a major therapeutic advance in the treatment of herpesvirus infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
- Pharmacology (medical)