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Antiviral Res. 2003 Jun;59(1):49-56.

Oral brivudin in comparison with acyclovir for improved therapy of herpes zoster in immunocompetent patients: results of a randomized, double-blind, multicentered study.

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  • 1Dermatological Department, Klinikum Krefeld, Lutherplatz 40, D-47805, Krefeld, Germany.


Brivudin [(E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine] is a nucleoside analogue with a high and selective antiviral activity against varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The double-blind, randomized study presented here compared efficacy and safety of oral brivudin 1 x 125 mg and acyclovir 5 x 800 mg, both for 7 days, in 1227 immunocompetent patients with herpes zoster. Main results were as follows: brivudin was superior to acyclovir in accelerating the "time to last formation of new vesicles" (primary parameter; risk ratio(ITT): 1.13, P=0.014). Equivalent effects of brivudin and acyclovir were observed for the secondary parameters "time to first crust" (RR(ITT): 0.93, P=0.004), "time to full crusting" (risk ratio(ITT): 1.03, P<0.001), and "time to loss of crusts" (RR(ITT): 0.95, P=0.002). The incidence of potentially treatment-related adverse events was similar under brivudin (7.7%) and acyclovir (10.0%). In conclusion, brivudin proved to be more effective than acyclovir in terminating vesicle formation, the parameter which reflects the end of viral replication, thus confirming, in the clinical setting, the greater in vitro antiviral activity of brivudin. Compared with acyclovir, brivudin provides a similar safety profile and a significant improvement in efficacy.

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