Class/mechanism: Antiviral; synthetic purine nucleoside analog which interacts with the viral thymidine kinase (TK) encoded by herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 & HSV-2) and the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Thymidine kinase converts acyclovir to acyclovir monophosphate, which is eventually converted via phosphorylation into acyclovir triphosphate. Acyclovir triphosphate inhibits the replication of viral DNA by prematurely terminating the replicating DNA strand since acyclovir has no 3' end; competitively inhibiting viral DNA polymerase; and inactivating viral DNA polymerase. Acyclovir has greater activity against HSV compared to VZV because of more robust phosphorylation by the HSV viral thymidine kinase.
Route: PO, IV, topical
Extravasation: no information
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Diseases for which it is used
No known antineoplastic properties. Widely used to prevent HSV and VZV reactivation in immunocompromised hosts receiving chemotherapy.
Patient drug information
Also known as
- Generic names: aciclovir, ACV, acycloguanosine
- Brand names: