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Arch Fam Med. 2000 Sep-Oct;9(9):863-9.

Antiviral therapy for herpes zoster: randomized, controlled clinical trial of valacyclovir and famciclovir therapy in immunocompetent patients 50 years and older.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the efficacy and safety of valacyclovir hydrochloride and famciclovir for the treatment of herpes zoster.

DESIGN:

A double-blind, randomized, controlled, multicenter clinical trial in which patients received 7 days of treatment and were followed up for 24 weeks.

SETTINGS:

Patients reported directly to specialist centers or were referred from primary care centers.

PATIENTS:

There were 597 otherwise healthy immunocompetent outpatients, aged 50 years and older, who presented within 72 hours of onset of zoster rash.

INTERVENTIONS:

Treatment with valacyclovir hydrochloride (1 g 3 times daily) or famciclovir (500 mg 3 times daily) for 7 days.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Resolution of zoster-associated pain and postherpetic neuralgia, rash healing, and treatment safety.

RESULTS:

Intent-to-treat analysis did not detect statistically significant differences for valacyclovir vs famciclovir on resolution of zoster-associated pain (hazard ratio, 1. 02; 95% confidence interval, 0.84-1.23; P =.84). Furthermore, no differences were evident between treatments on rash healing rates and on a range of analyses of postherpetic neuralgia. Safety profiles for valacyclovir and famciclovir were similar, with headache and nausea being the more common adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS:

Valacyclovir treatment is comparable to famciclovir treatment in speeding the resolution of zoster-associated pain and postherpetic neuralgia. Current wholesale prices indicate that valacyclovir is the more cost-effective treatment for herpes zoster ($83.90 vs $140.70 per course).

PMID:
11031393
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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