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Anti Viral Drugs

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Anti-Viral Drugs are medicines that are used to treat or control virus infections. Just as antibiotics are used for bacterial infections, so also there are antiviral drugs for preventing the growth of various viruses in the human body. Anti viral drugs do not destroy their target pathogens but they prevent their development. This group of drugs belong to the one class of antimicrobials, where a larger class includes antibiotic, antifungal and antiparasitic drugs. Anti-viral drugs are available only with a physician's prescription and are sold in tablets, liquid or inhaler forms.

Virus Treated By Antiviral Drugs

Most of the antiviral drugs available in the market today are used to treat or prevent the following:

  • HIV virus
  • Herpes virus
  • Hepatitis B and C viruses
  • Influenza A and B viruses

Popular Anti Viral Drugs and the Viruses They Treat
Drugs Virus
Vidarabine Herpes
Acyclovir Herpes simplex (HSV)
Gancyclovir and Valcyte(valganciclovir) Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Nucleoside-analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors
(NRTI): AZT (Zidovudine), ddI (Didanosine), ddC
(Zalcitabine), d4T (Stavudine), 3TC (Lamivudine)
Retroviruses (HIV)
Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
(NNRTI): Nevirapine, Delavirdine
Retroviruses (HIV)
Protease Inhibitors: Saquinavir, Ritonavir, Indinavir, Nelfinavir HIV
Ribavirin Broad spectrum: HCV, HSV, measles, mumps, Lassa fever
Amantadine / Rimantadine Influenza A strains
Relenza and Tamiflu Influenza strains A and B
Pleconaril Picornaviruses
Interferons Hepatitis B and C

How do anti viral drugs work?

Anti-Virals are used to treat infections caused by viruses. Several drugs are there, and each is used for specific kinds of viral infections. Rather than killing the viruses, anti-viral drugs block steps in the process through which viruses reproduce. Some may also stimulate the immune system so that the body can fight the viruses itself.

Uses of Antiviral Drugs

Any virus infection that make you sick can be treated using anti viral drug , which makes your illness milder and make you feel better faster. These drugs prevent serious influenza complications. So the sooner the patient gets treatment with an antiviral, the quicker is its chances of recovery. Such influenza antivirus drugs can also be given to someone as a preventive measure in the sense that he/she is not sick but is in constant touch with a person with influenza. When used to prevent the flu, antiviral drugs are about 70% to 90% effective. Many believe that there is no need for any treatment for a viral infection like cold, influenza and allow it to let it run its course. But there are anti viral prescription drugs that can be used for treatment.

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