(Vira A)

General Description

Vidarabine is an antiviral used in treating eye infections caused by herpes simplex virus (types 1 and 2). It is also used 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 idoxuridine-resistant superficial keratitis.


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.


This treatment should not be prescribed to patients with an allergy to vidarabine.

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.


Arenavirus 2000 Home
Humans and Viruses
Human Biology 115A
Winter, 2000
Robert Siegel, instructor


Created: February 1, 1998
Last modified: March 5, 2000