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Drug Saf. 2000 Aug;23(2):131-42.

A risk-benefit evaluation of aciclovir for the treatment and prophylaxis of herpes simplex virus infections.

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Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


The objective of this article is to review and evaluate risks and benefits associated with the use of acyclovir in the treatment and prophylaxis of common manifestations of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections in immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. Information was found through a MEDLINE search using keywords: herpes simplex virus, genital herpes, herpes labialis, acyclovir and acyclovir. Selected articles were randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trials. 30 such trials involving 3364 persons were evaluated. All articles were reviewed by the authors and the data were extracted and summarised. In both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, acyclovir therapy demonstrated a high degree of clinical efficacy. None of the studies reported statistically significant differences between acyclovir and placebo for mild or major adverse events. This evaluation found that acyclovir is both effective and well tolerated for treatment and prophylaxis of genital, oral and mucocutaneous HSV infections in immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. In most clinical scenarios. the benefit of acyclovir exceeded any risks by a comfortable margin. The availability of acyclovir as a generic preparation further improves the benefit to cost ratio.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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