VECTAVIR ® Penciclovir

VECTAVIR ® is a Penciclovir-based drug

THERAPEUTIC GROUP: Antivirals for topical use

Indications VECTAVIR ® Penciclovir

VECTAVIR ® is indicated for the treatment of cold sores only.

Mechanism of action VECTAVIR ® Penciclovir

VECTAVIR ® is a drug intended for the treatment of cold sores based on Penciclovir, an active ingredient with extensive antiviral activity, particularly effective against Herpes Simplex Virus.
Applied to the area affected by the infectious process, Penciclovir easily permeates the membranes of infected cells, being phosphorylated to Peniciclovir triphosphate first by specific viral enzymes and subsequently by cellular kinases.
The triphosphorylated drug, nucleoside analogue of guanosine, is incorporated into the nascent chain thus blocking the activity of the viral DNA polymerase enzyme, and thus inhibiting any viral proliferation process responsible for the symptoms in progress.
Despite the good efficacy of the drug, it is possible to describe the onset of resistance mechanisms such as to frustrate the therapeutic aid by:

  • The reduced expression of the viral thymidine kinase enzyme, initiator of the enzymatic reaction;
  • The alteration of the binding affinity between Penciclovir and viral thymidine kinase;
  • The alteration of the binding affinity between Penciclovir and viral DNA polymerase.

The above mechanisms are generally responsible for an aggravation of the clinical picture.

Studies carried out and clinical efficacy

BMC Dermatol. 2009 Apr 2; 9: 3.

Evaluation of the in vitro skin permeation of antiviral drugs from penciclovir 1% cream and aciclovir 5% cream used to treat herpes simplex virus infection.

Hasler-Nguyen N, Shelton D, Ponard G, Bader M, Schaffrik M, Mallefet P.

Molecular study that demonstrates how the application of 1% Penciclvor creams can be effective in the treatment of Labial Herpes by spreading easily from the stratum corneum to the deeper layers of the epidermis up to the basal layer.

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2004 Sep-Oct; 17: 214-8.

Penciclovir cream - improved topical treatment for herpes simplex infections.

Schmid-Wendtner MH, Korting HC.

Clinical study suggesting the topical use of 1% Penciclovir-based creams in the treatment of cold sores, given the excellent results obtained regardless of the eruption phase.

Arch Virol. 2003 Sep; 148: 1757-69.

Profiling penciclovir susceptibility and prevalence of resistance of herpes simplex virus isolates across eleven clinical trials.

Sarisky RT, Bacon TH, Boon RJ, Duffy KE, Esser KM, Leary J, Locke LA, Nguyen TT, Quail MR, Saltzman R.

interesting work that evaluates the results of 11 clinical studies presented all over the world, focusing on the low tendency of HSV to develop resistance mechanisms to Penciclovir, used topically.

Method of use and dosage

1% Penciclovir cream for topical use.
In order to block the spread of the virus early and the worsening of the clinical picture, it would be advisable to apply the cream on the region affected by the infectious process as early as possible, taking care to renew this application at intervals of 2-4 hours.

Warnings VECTAVIR ® Penciclovir

VECTAVIR ® is intended for labial use, therefore it should be applied to infectious lesions of the lips or face, taking care to avoid direct contact with mucous membranes and eyes.
Despite the simplicity of use it would still be advisable to consult your doctor before using this drug.
The presence of alcohol and propylene glycol in VECTAVIR ® could lead to skin irritation and local reactions.


The low systemic absorption, almost zero, of Penciclovir, which occurs following the topical use of VECTAVIR ®, minimizes the potential risks associated with the accidental exposure of the fetus to the aforementioned drug.
In any case, before using VECTAVIR ® in pregnancy and in the subsequent period of breastfeeding, it is necessary to consult your gynecologist.


No clinically relevant drug interactions are currently known.

Contraindications VECTAVIR ® Penciclovir

VECTAVIR ® is contraindicated in patients hypersensitive to the active substance or to one of its excipients.

Undesirable Effects - Side Effects

The use of VECTAVIR ® could lead to the occurrence of transient and local adverse reactions, clinically not relevant such as burning, redness, tingling, hives, itching and swelling.
Fortunately, these reactions spontaneously regress once the current therapy is suspended.


VECTAVIR ® is a non-prescription drug.

The information on VECTAVIR ® Penciclovir published on this page may be out of date or incomplete. For a correct use of this information, see the Disclaimer and useful information page.

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