Antivirals are medications used to treat viral infections. Most of these medications will not cure the conditions they are used to treat, they simply help suppress viral replication so that the immune system can successfully deal with the virus without being overwhelmed.


Brand/Generic Drug Names

Zovirax/acyclovir, Symmetrel/amantadine, Videx/didanosine, Foscavir/foscarnet, Cytovene/gancyclovir, Flumadine/rimantadine, stavudine, Retrovir/zidovudine, Famvir/famciclovir, Virazole/ribavirin
Common uses
mucocutaneous herpes simplex, herpes genitalis, advanced HIV infections, herpes simplex encephalitis, varicella-zoster encephalomyelitis
interfere with DNA synthesis needed for viral replication
Class contraindications
hypersensitivity, immunosuppressed with herpes zoster
Class precautions
renal disease, liver disease, lactation,pregnancy, dehydration
varies by drug
Adverse Reactions
fatal metabolic encephalopathy, blood dyscrasias, acute renal failure, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, anorexia, vaginitis, moniliasis
Additional Information
Assess for signs of infection, anemia, bowel pattern
Assess skin eruptions, intake and output
Assess liver and renal studies, blood studies
Perform culture and sensitivity before initiating therapy
Increase fluids to 3L/day if giving IV
Evaluate therapeutic response: absence/control of infection
Date of most recent Update
August 08, 2002
Further information is available in the writeup for the specific name(s) of this medication class