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Chickenpox (varicella) is caused by a virus. It begins with a fever, followed by a rash of red pimples which become itchy sores that form scabs. Chickenpox usually affects children from one to 14 years. In young babies, adults or people with impaired immune system, chickenpox is more severe. Treatments include lotions to relieve itchiness, paracetamol (acetaminophen) for fever and the antiviral drug acyclovir. The review of trials found that acyclovir reduces the number of days of fever from chickenpox in otherwise healthy children, usually without adverse effects. It is not clear whether it improves sores and itching.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: October 19, 2005

The aim of this Cochrane Review was to find out if valacyclovir performs better than acyclovir in the treatment of a painful itchy rash caused by the chickenpox virus (herpes zoster ophthalmicus). Cochrane researchers collected and analysed all relevant studies to answer this question and found one study.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: November 14, 2016

Bibliographic details: Li JY, Li SQ.  Systematic reviews of ganciclovir versus acyclovir for herpes simplex virus keratitis. International Eye Science 2014; 14(9): 1590-1593

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2014

Although acyclovir has traditionally been seen as the drug of choice in pregnancy and pediatrics, valacyclovir has the benefit of decreased dosing frequency and potential increased compliance as a result. This report aims to review recent evidence and relevant practice guidelines on the comparative effectiveness of acyclovir and valacyclovir in children with chickenpox and in pregnant women with Herpes Simplex Virus infections, chickenpox and shingles.

Rapid Response Report: Summary with Critical Appraisal - Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

Version: September 5, 2014

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of antiviral medicines for preventing postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 6, 2014

Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL) is sudden loss of hearing where clinical assessment has failed to reveal a cause. Patients may also suffer from additional symptoms such as tinnitus (a background ringing noise), together with dizziness and a sensation of fullness in the ear. Prompt investigation is essential to identify and treat the hearing impairment. In a large proportion of patients, however, no cause can be found.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: August 15, 2012

The virus herpes simplex (herpes) causes a rare but devastating disease in the newborn that can range from skin and eye infection to shock, organ failure, brain infection, and death. Newborn herpes infection is an uncommon complication of active genital herpes in the mother around the time of delivery or after direct contact with a herpes blister ("fever blister", "cold sore") of an infected caregiver. We reviewed five studies conducted to assess the effects of antiviral agents (medications that reduce the spread of virus in the body) on mortality and long‐term complications of herpes disease in the newborn. Antiviral agents were shown to reduce mortality from the condition, but the reduction was not statistically significant due to the small number of infants in the study. There was insufficient trial data to guide caregivers regarding the duration of antiviral therapy or dose.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: July 8, 2009

Behcet's syndrome is a multisystemic disorder presenting with recurrent oral and genital ulcerations as well as ocular involvement. Treatment of Behcet's syndrome is symptomatic and empirical.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: April 27, 1998

The aim of this research was to look at the positive and adverse effects of treatments, on the duration of symptoms, in people who have their first episode of genital herpes.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: August 30, 2016

This review has been conducted to assess the effects of different interventions, administered systemically or topically, for the prevention or treatment of oral ulcers in people with Behçet's disease. The interventions could be compared with an alternative intervention, no intervention or the administration of a placebo.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: September 25, 2014

Cytomegalovirus (CMV; a herpes virus) is the most common type of virus detected in people who have received solid organ transplants (kidney, heart, liver, lung and pancreas). CMV disease is a major cause of illness and death during the first six to 12 months after transplantation. Two main strategies to prevent CMV disease have been adopted: protection and prevention (prophylaxis) of viral infections for all organ recipients using antiviral drugs, or 'pre‐emptive therapy' of organ recipients, who develop evidence of CMV infection during routine screening.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 28, 2013

We investigated the benefits and side effects of antiviral treatment for people with glandular fever compared with fake treatment or standard care.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: December 8, 2016

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of antiviral therapy alone or in combination with any other therapy, on Bell's palsy.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: November 9, 2015

Treatment of cancer is increasingly effective, but associated with oral complications such as mucositis, fungal infections, bacterial infections and viral infections such as the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Oral complications can impact severely on quality of life and may lead to life‐threatening systemic infection. Infection with HSV can cause pain and blistering on or around the lips and within the mouth. Orofacial lesions are most commonly caused by HSV type 1. Aciclovir and other antiviral drugs such as valaciclovir, famiciclovir and penciclovir, have been widely used to treat HSV‐related conditions. Recurrent HSV type 1 infection in patients who are immunocompromised due to treatment for cancer may be more aggressive, painful and slower to heal. These more extensive lesions often require much longer treatment and leave the patient more susceptible to developing drug‐resistant strains of HSV. This review of 17 trials found evidence that aciclovir is efficacious in the prevention and treatment of HSV infections, in terms of preventing clinical/culture positive HSV infections, reduction in healing time, duration of viral shedding and relief of pain. There is no evidence that valaciclovir is more efficacious than aciclovir, or that a high dose of valaciclovir is better than a low dose of valaciclovir. There is evidence that for prevention, placebo is more efficacious than prostaglandin E. However, in all included trials, risk of bias is unclear. No trials reported on duration of hospital stay, amount of analgesia or patient quality of life.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: January 21, 2009

The incidence of herpes, a sexually transmitted disease, varies across the world. Among pregnant women with herpes, nearly 75% can expect at least one flare‐up during their pregnancy. Transmission of the virus from mother to baby typically occurs by direct contact with the virus during birth. It is often recommended that a cesarean should be offered to women with active lesions to reduce the risk of transmission to the baby. In addition, several antiviral agents are available for use both for therapy and for preventing a flare‐up. These antiviral drugs include acyclovir, penciclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. The review assessed whether antiviral drugs given to pregnant women with herpes before a recurrence might be effective in reducing transmission to the baby. Seven studies were identified involving 1249 women. Giving antiviral drugs reduces viral shedding and recurrences at labor and birth. They also reduced the use of cesarean, but there is no evidence of reduction in neonatal herpes. Women should also be informed that the risk of the baby getting herpes during birth is low.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: January 23, 2008

Cochrane researchers aimed to find out if treatment with an antiviral medication at the time of the corneal graft, for example acyclovir, lowers the chance of herpes simplex virus (HSV) returning and causing inflammation (keratitis). They were also interested in whether this lowered the chance of the graft failing. They collected and analysed all relevant studies to answer this question and found three studies.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: November 30, 2016

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common cause of viral disease in people who have received kidney, heart, liver, lung or pancreas transplants (solid organ transplants). CMV is a major cause of illness and death during the first six months after transplantation. Characteristics of CMV include fever, very low white blood cell counts (leucopenia) and very low numbers of platelets (thrombocytopenia) with or without specific organ involvement.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 28, 2013

OBJECTIVE: To summarize the randomized evidence regarding the association between acyclovir use and HIV-1 replication as measured by plasma HIV-1 RNA viral load among individuals coinfected with herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2011

Are oral antiviral drugs (acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir) effective compared with placebo? And is one of these three drugs superior to the others in suppressing genital herpes outbreaks in patients experiencing four or more recurrences per year? Effectiveness in this review was evaluated by determining the risk of experiencing at least one recurrence during the treatment period in each group.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: August 3, 2014

This review assessed prophylactic acyclovir for pregnant women with genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) near term. The authors concluded that acyclovir at 36 weeks' gestation reduces clinical HSV recurrence at delivery, Caesarean section for recurrent genital herpes and shedding of HSV at delivery. This was a well-conducted and clearly presented review. The authors' conclusions are likely to be reliable.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2003

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