Zovirax is a branded genital herpes treatment. It contains the active ingredient valaciclovir. We don't offer Zovirax but we do offer generic valaciclovir for treating herpes.

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from £40.00

Product details

Zovirax is a branded tablet used for outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes. Cold sores and genital herpes are caused by a virus in the skin called herpes simplex (HSV). Zovirax can fight the outbreak of HSV, as it contains a medication called aciclovir, which can speed up the healing process and help with symptoms.

You can get generic aciclovir tablets, which are the same as Zovirax without the brand name, from Superdrug Online Doctor.

Dr Simran Deo Medical Editor

Medically reviewed by

Dr Simran Deo

Last reviewed: 26 Mar 2020

Aciclovir (generic Zovirax) prices

Pack Size Price
400 mg - 15 tablet(s) - Single course £20.00
400 mg - 30 tablet(s) - First Ever Outbreak £25.00
400 mg - 30 tablet(s) - Two courses £25.00
400 mg - 45 tablet(s) - Three courses £30.00
400 mg - 168 tablet(s) - Daily Suppression Treatment £49.00

How it Works

About Zovirax

What is Zovirax?

Zovirax is a branded tablet with an active ingredient (medication) called aciclovir. This means that Zovirax and aciclovir are the same, Zovirax is simply the brand name. Zovirax can be used for outbreaks of herpes infections, including cold sores and genital herpes.

What are Zovirax tablets?

Zovirax tablets contain aciclovir. They should be prescribed by a doctor and taken by mouth. Zovirax is the branded name but you may also find aciclovir tablets under other names.

What are Zovirax tablets used for?

Zovirax can be used to treat:

  • shingles
  • chicken pox
  • cold sores
  • genital herpes

These infections are caused by a virus called HSV. It can be used to treat the first outbreak, further outbreaks, and can be used between outbreaks as a suppression treatment. Zovirax is not a cure for cold sores or genital herpes, but it can help with outbreaks.

Are Zovirax and aciclovir the same?

Yes, Zovirax is a branded tablet containing the generic medication called aciclovir. This means that they are the same tablet, Zovirax is simply the brand name, which means it may be a little more expensive to buy.

How does Zovirax work?

Zovirax contains aciclovir, which is an antiviral medication. This means it can help your body to fight a HSV outbreak and can reduce pain, itching, and tingling. Zovirax works by treating the cause of the infection and stopping a cold sore or genital herpes outbreak, but it cannot cure HSV. It can also stop it coming back as often when taken as a suppression treatment.

How long do Zovirax tablets take to work?

As with any medication, each of us can react differently when taking Zovirax. For most outbreaks of HSV, you should start to feel better within a few days of taking Zovirax tablets. If you do not feel better after your tablets are finished, speak with your doctor. If your outbreak gets worse while you are taking Zovirax, speak with your doctor as you may need a higher dosage. Never increase your dosage without asking a doctor first.

How long does a herpes outbreak last while taking Zovirax?

Herpes outbreaks can last 7 to 14 days, with symptoms lasting around 7 days without treatment. The first outbreak may last longer. If taken when you see the first signs of an outbreak, Zovirax should help you to feel better within a few days and can heal sores and blisters faster than without treatment.

Can I have sex while taking Zovirax?

If you have been prescribed Zovirax for cold sores, you should avoid oral sex or kissing until the cold sores have fully healed.

If you have been prescribed Zovirax for genital herpes, you must not have sex until all blisters and sores have healed. You should always use a condom, even after these sores have gone. This reduces the chance of your partner catching the infection.

How to take Zovirax

Zovirax is most effective when taken just as you begin to feel symptoms of an outbreak. These symptoms include:

  • itching
  • burning
  • tingling
  • sores or blisters forming
  • redness or lumps under the skin

The dosage for Zovirax tablets depends on your age and how bad the outbreak is. Zovirax is taken by mouth and can be taken 2 to 5 times a day. Your doctor will prescribe you the correct dose.

How to take Zovirax tablets

You can take Zovirax tablets by mouth, with a full glass of water. This helps to keep the kidneys working well whilst taking this medication. If you struggle to swallow tablets, Zovirax can be dissolved in half a glass of water. Make sure to stir until dissolved and drink all the water to get the full dose. You can take the tablet with or without food. Take the dosage on the packet that has been prescribed by your doctor and take your doses evenly during the day.

Zovirax can be taken in 3 ways:

  1. Zovirax can be taken to suppress herpes and is usually taken 2 times a day for up to a year.
  2. Zovirax can be used to prevent or treat HSV outbreaks. The typical dosage for this is 200mg every 4 hours, 5 times a day for 5 days. You should take Zovirax as soon as you notice the first symptoms.
  3. Zovirax can be used for cold sore suppression when taken daily, for up to a year. This can reduce the chances of your cold sore outbreaks by a third.

How many Zovirax tablets should I take?

The number of tablets you take will depend on what you have been prescribed by your doctor and why you are using Zovirax. Speak with your doctor and check your tablet packet for more information on dosing.

Zovirax doses

There are different Zovirax doses depending on what you are taking Zovirax for. You can use Zovirax for the treatment of genital herpes, cold sores, and as a suppression treatment. The general treatment for HSV outbreaks starts at 200mg Zovirax tablets, 3 to 5 times daily.

Zovirax tablets 800mg

800mg tablets are used in the treatment of shingles, which is caused by a herpes virus called herpes zoster.

Zovirax 400mg

A larger dose of 400mg Zovirax may be given if 200mg tablets are not improving your symptoms during an outbreak of HSV. This should only be increased by your doctor.

Zovirax 200mg

Zovirax doses are usually started at 200mg tablets and are only increased if they no longer work to stop symptoms. The 200mg tablets can be prescribed 2 to 5 times a day, depending on if the tablets are being taken for the initial outbreak, as a suppression treatment, or to help with an outbreak.

Where can I buy Zovirax?

Can I buy Zovirax tablets online?

You can buy generic aciclovir tablets online, which work exactly the same way as Zovirax, from Superdrug Online Doctor. The process is easy and can be done via our website:

  1. Fill in an easy, secure medical questionnaire. Here, you will be able to answer questions about your symptoms and upload photos of the affected areas.
  2. One of the doctors will then review your questionnaire and, if approved, will provide a prescription.
  3. Your aciclovir tablets can then be dispensed for you to collect in store at any Superdrug Pharmacy, delivered to your home address, or collected at your local Post Office. The packing will remain discreet, meaning nobody will be able to tell what is inside.
  4. If you have any further questions, you can contact a doctor via your account at any time, for free.

Can I get Zovirax tablets on the NHS?

Zovirax can be prescribed by the NHS, but as Zovirax is the brand name you may be prescribed with a different brand, or the tablets may be unbranded.

Can I buy Zovirax tablets over the counter?

As Zovirax is a prescription only medicine, you cannot get it over the counter from a pharmacy without a prescription.

Zovirax side effects

Like every medication, Zovirax tablets may have some side effects. The most common are dizziness, headaches, or diarrhoea and vomiting (being sick). Zovirax can cause allergic reactions in rare cases and you must stop treatment and call 111 (or 999 in severe cases), if you develop signs of an allergic reaction.

What are the side effects of Zovirax tablets?

The most common side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • diarrhoea
  • being sick or feeling sick
  • skin feeling sensitive to sun
  • itching
  • fever
  • feeling tired

Uncommon effects include:

  • hair loss
  • hives

Rare side effects include:

  • swelling
  • breathing difficulties
  • blood and liver changes

Very rare side effects include:

  • confusion
  • shaking
  • feeling very sleepy and drowsy
  • yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • fits (seizures)

If you develop any of the uncommon or rare side effects, stop using Zovirax and speak with your doctor.

How long do side effects of Zovirax last?

Side effects of Zovirax will be different for each person. If you have any common side effects, you may continue to take the medication if you are able. For most people, these side effects will stop after a few days of taking the tablets. For serious side effects, you should stop using it immediately and speak with a doctor.

What should I do if I get side effects?

If you get any side effects from Zovirax, speak to a doctor if they bother you or last longer than 5 days. If you get any rare side effects after taking Zovirax you should go to A&E. You can also report side effects through the Yellow Card Scheme. If you get any common side effects, treat them as you would normally by taking Paracetamol and drinking plenty of water. If you have vomiting (being sick) or diarrhoea, try taking the tablets with food to see if this helps.

Who can take Zovirax?

Zovirax may not be the right treatment for everyone. You should only use Zovirax if you have cold sores or genital herpes, which are caused by HSV. You can take Zovirax when pregnant and breastfeeding but some medications may interact with Zovirax. Speak with your doctor if you are unsure.

You should also speak with your doctor before taking if you:

  • have or have had concerns with your kidneys
  • have a weakened immune system

Can you take Zovirax when pregnant?

Yes, it can be safe to take Zovirax when pregnant but speak to a doctor first to find out the benefits and risks.

Can you take Zovirax while breastfeeding?

Yes, it can be safe to take Zovirax when breastfeeding. Zovirax tablets are taken by the mouth, so some of the medicine can be passed to the baby but this is unlikely to cause any harm. Speak to a doctor first to find out the benefits and risks.

Medications that can interact with Zovirax

Some medications can interact with Zovirax, making it work differently within the body. Some medications can increase the chances of you getting side effects from Zovirax when taken together. Speak to your doctor if you are taking:

  • medication for stomach ulcers
  • valaciclovir (a medication similar to acyclovir)
  • medication for gout
  • ibuprofen
  • medication for an organ transplant
  • medication for asthma

Can you drink alcohol when taking Zovirax?

Yes, you can drink alcohol when taking Zovirax.

Can you take paracetamol with Zovirax?

Yes, Zovirax is not known to interact with Paracetamol so is safe to take alongside if needed.


Aciclovir (2019) NHS [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Acyclovir (2019) U.S National Library of Medicine [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Acyclovir, Oral Tablet (2018) Healthline [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Allergies (2018) NHS [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Hives (2021) NHS [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Preventing cold sores (2015) Harvard Medical School [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Shingles (2018) NHS [Accessed 6 July 2021]

Treatment of Herpes Labialis: Comparison of Two Otc drugs and Untreated Controls (2011) Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Treatment Options for Genital Herpes (2020) WebMD [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Yellowcard (2021) Yellowcard [Accessed 5 July 2021]

ZOVIRAX (2020) Rx List [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Zovirax WebMD [Accessed 5 July 2021]

Patient Reviews