Munson Health
Medications for Chickenpox

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by Alan R
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your healthcare provider if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your healthcare provider, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your healthcare provider.

Prescription Medications

  • Acyclovir (Zovirax)
  • Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
  • Famciclovir (Famvir)

Over-the-Counter Medications

  • Benadryl
  • Antipyretics
  • Tylenol
  • Feverall
  • Neopap
  • Panadol
  • Motrin
  • Ibuprin

Prescription Medications

  Antiviral medications
Common name:
  • Acyclovir (Zovirax)
Acyclovir is an antiviral drug that may be recommended for patients who are at risk for moderate or severe chickenpox, such as children 12 or older or adults, especially those with any of the following:
Acyclovir given to persons of any age may help decrease the duration and severity of chickenpox and shorten the time of contagiousness to others. It is most effective when started in the first 24 hours after onset of chickenpox. Its effectiveness decreases significantly if begun more than 72 hours after the onset of the rash.
Acyclovir can be taken orally. For adults, there is some evidence that the related drugs valacyclovir and famciclovir might be more effective. Acyclovir can be given by vein for severely sick or hospitalized patients, especially when the highest possible dosages are required.
Possible side effects include:
  • Nausea
  • Kidney problems, especially with the IV form or in dehydrated patients
  • Special precaution in those with kidney failure or using other drugs which could be harmful to kidneys


Chickenpox. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: . Updated May 2010. Accessed May 30, 2013.

Chickenpox (varicella). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: . Updated April 25, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013.

Varicella. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated April 13, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013.


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