Aciclovir is an antiviral drug that inhibits DNA synthesis in cells infected by HERPES VIRUSES, although it does not eradicate them. It is only eﬀective if started at the onset of infection; uses include the systemic treatment of herpes simplex infections of the skin and mucous membranes (including genital herpes), as well as of varicella-zoster (chickenpox) pneumonia and encephalitis. It is also used topically in the eye. It is especially valuable for the treatment of herpes infections in those with IMMUNODEFICIENCY and may be required for the prevention of recurrence and for prophylaxis – indeed, it may be life-saving. Similar medications include famciclovir and valaciclovir.
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