Vidarabine is an antiviral used in
eye infections caused by herpes simplex virus (types 1 and 2). It is also
to treat herpes encephalitis, although the drug
acyclovir has proven more effective as a therapy for this disease.
Vidarabine's brand name is Vira A.
Vidarabine works by inhibiting DNA synthesis in the virion.
Keratoconjunctivitis and recurrent epithelial keratitis should be treated
with Vidarabine. Vidarabine is also useful in treating
Effects of vidarabine on the developing fetus are unknown, so doctors
should prescribe it only if the benefits of the therapy clearly outweigh
the risk to the pregnant woman. It is also unclear whether vidarabine is
secreted in breastmilk, so breastfeeding women should consult their
physician before taking this drug.
treatment should not be prescribed to patients with an allergy to
Potential Adverse Effects
Long-term use of vidarabine (more than 21 days) may cause small punctate
corneal defects. However, chronic infections may require a longer
treatment period. Exposure to this drug may increase light sensitivity,
eye irritation, and watery eyes. No life-threatening or overdose symptoms
have been reported.
Humans and Viruses
Human Biology 115A
Robert Siegel, instructor
Created: February 1, 1998
Last modified: March 5, 2000