Antiviral drugs are medicines that cure or control virus infections.
Antivirals are used to treat infections caused by viruses. Unlike antibacterial drugs, which may cover a wide range of pathogens, antiviral agents tend to be narrow in spectrum, and have limited efficacy.
Exclusive of the antiretroviral agents used in HIV (AIDS) therapy, there are currently only 11 antiviral drugs available, covering four types of virus. Acyclovir (Zovirax), Famciclovir (Famvir), and Valacyclovir (Valtrex) are effective against the herpes virus, including herpes zoster and genital herpes. They may also be of value in either conditions caused by herpes, such as chicken pox and shingles. These drugs are not curative, but may reduce the pain of a herpes outbreak and shorten the period of viral shedding.
Amantadine (Symmetrel), Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), Rimantidine (Flumadine), and Zanamivir (Relenza) are useful in treatment of the influenza virus. Amantadine, rimantadine, and oseltamivir may be administered throughout the flu season as preventatives for patients who cannot take influenza virus vaccine.
Anti Viral Drugs: