Antiviral drugs are a class of drugs to treat diseases caused by viral infections, such as flu, HIV / AIDS, herpes, or hepatitis. This drug should not be used carelessly and should be in accordance with a doctor’s prescription.
Most viral infections can heal on their own thanks to the immune system. However, antiviral drugs need to be used for long-lasting viral infections in the body or viral infections that can be life-threatening, such as SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, hepatitis B virus, or HIV.
Antiviral drugs work by eradicating viruses or inhibiting the proliferation of viruses in the body, so that the number of viruses can be reduced and the infection can be resolved or at least controlled.
Not all antiviral drugs are the same. This depends on the type of disease suffered, for example, the drug for the flu will certainly be different from drugs intended for hepatitis or herpes patients.
Each antiviral drug also has different consumption instructions depending on the age, type, and purpose of consumption of the drug.
In addition to treating a disease, antiviral drugs can also be used to prevent the development of certain infectious diseases.
Based on the type of disease, the following are the types of antiviral drugs that are commonly used in treating viral infectious diseases.
There are three types of herpes viruses that can cause infection of the skin.
These three are varicella zoster, which is the cause of chickenpox and shingles, herpes simplex type I which is the cause of oral herpes, and herpes simplex type II which causes genital herpes.
Acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are antiviral drugs that can inhibit infection with the skin herpes virus.
These three antivirals work by binding to the DNA polymerase of the herpes virus, which is an enzyme that triggers viral replication so that the herpes virus is not able to multiply.
In addition, there are antiviral drugs for infection with cytomegalovirus herpes virus with similar mechanisms of action, such as valganciclovir, ganciclovir, foscarnet, and cidofovir.
Influenza or flu is a viral infectious disease that attacks the respiratory system. This disease is one of the common viral infections experienced.
Viral drugs for flu inhibit parts of the viral’ DNA, such as neuraminidase, so they can relieve symptoms more quickly and avoid complications in at-risk patients.
There are several types of antivirals used to treat the flu, such as:
- Oseltamivir, and
HPV infection or human papillomavirus is one of the STDs that can cause disorders of the surface of the skin, genitals, and cervical cancer.
This viral infectious disease can be treated using antiviral drugs, such as ribavirin, which can also treat viral infections in the respiratory tract.
Antivirals in the form of topical drugs such as imiquimod can also be used to treat HPV infection.
Antiviral drugs can inhibit the production of hepatic B virus and hepatitis C is interferon, the types of which include:
- Nucleoside, or nucleotide analogues,
- Protease inhibitor, and
- Polymerase inhibitors.
HIV virus infection can attack the immune system and cause a decrease in white blood cell levels.
This condition causes sufferers to be very susceptible to infectious diseases.
The good news is that HIV/AIDS patients can live a normal life by taking viral drugs such as antiretrovirals (ARVs).
This drug can effectively control the number of HIV viruses by affecting the viral replication cycle.
In fact, there are many drugs used to treat viral infectious diseases. The list of drugs above is a small part of the existing antiviral types.
There are several things you should pay attention to before using antiviral drugs, including:
- Tell your doctor about your history of allergies. Antiviral drugs should not be given to patients who are allergic to this drug.
- Antiviral drugs are not therapies to replace vaccines. Vaccination is prioritized as a prevention against viral infections.
- Tell your doctor if you have or are suffering from kidney disease, heart disease, respiratory tract disorders, liver disease, or diabetes.
- Tell your doctor if you are taking antiviral medications before undergoing surgery or other medical procedures.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
- Tell your doctor if you are using any medications, supplements, or herbal products.
- See a doctor immediately if there is a drug allergic reaction, serious side effects, or overdose after using antiviral drugs.
Viruses are microorganisms that need a host to survive.
When attacking the body, the virus will enter healthy cells and take over their function to replicate.
The virus can hitchhike inside the cell or directly damage the cell so that it can then multiply.
During the process, the virus will constantly destroy and infect healthy cells in the body.
Therefore, a cure for a virus should be able to enter the cell and affect the virus without damaging the cell.
In general, antivirals do not work directly to eradicate the virus, but inhibit the development of the virus in the cell.
Drugs for cold viruses, for example, enzymes in antivirals will disrupt the cycle of viral infection by preventing viruses that have damaged one cell from moving to damage other cells.
By limiting the reproduction of viruses, the number of viruses in the body will decrease. Therefore, the body’s immune system will more easily stop viral infections.
How this antiviral drug works will later shorten the appearance of symptoms while preventing symptoms from getting worse and causing complications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antiviral drugs work better if taken as soon as possible at the beginning of the appearance of symptoms.
That is why doctors more often give antivirals in the early stages of treatment.
In people who are at risk of complications from flu, antiviral drugs can prevent the onset of severe symptoms, ear infections, and conditions that cause patients undergo hospitalization.