Vidarabine (adenine arabinoside, Ara-A)

What is Vidarabine (adenine arabinoside, Ara-A)

NOTE: This drug is discontinued in the US.

Vidarabine (adenine arabinoside, Ara-A) is an antiviral drug, produced from fermentation cultures of Streptomyces antibioticus. Vidarabine has antiviral activity against herpes simplex types I and II, varicella-zoster virus, cytomegalovirus, vaccinia, and hepatitis B.

Vidarabine also inhibits the formation of myeloid precursor cells in vitro; however, this effect is about one-third that of cytarabine, Ara-C. In 1976, vidarabine became the first systemic antiviral agent approved by the FDA.

The intravenous formulation of vidarabine was discontinued by the manufacturer in October 1992; the ophthalmic formulation has also subsequently been discontinued.


  1. cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  2. Epstein-Barr virus
  3. hepatitis B virus
  4. herpes simplex keratitis (dendritic keratitis)
  5. herpes simplex virus type 1
  6. herpes simplex virus type 2
  7. keratitis
  8. keratoconjunctivitis
  9. varicella-zoster virus
  10. variola virus (smallpox)
  11. viral conjunctivitis

Side Effects

  1. erythema
  2. keratitis
  3. lacrimation
  4. ocular irritation
  5. ocular pain
  6. photophobia
  7. pruritus

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary


  • breast-feeding
  • children
  • infants
  • neonates
  • pregnancy


No information is available regarding drug interactions associated with Vidarabine


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