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Oral brivudin in comparison with acyclovir for herpes zoster: a survey study on postherpetic neuralgia.

Author(s): Wassilew SW, Wutzler P, Brivddin Herpes Zoster Study Group

Affiliation(s): Dermatological Department, Klinikum Krefeld, Lutherplatz 40, D-47805, Krefeld, Germany. swassilew.dermatologie@klinikum-krefeld.de

Publication date & source: 2003-06, Antiviral Res., 59(1):57-60.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial

This concerns a double-blind survey study on 608 herpes zoster patients treated with 1x 125 mg oral brivudin (n=309) or 5x 800 mg acyclovir (n=299), both for 7 days, during two prospective, randomised clinical herpes zoster trials. The survey aimed at evaluating the outcome of the two treatment regimens on postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). During a follow-up ranging from 8 to 17 months after start of treatment, former study participants aged >/=50 years were interviewed for the occurrence of PHN. Neither the investigators nor the patients were aware of which treatment the patients received during acute herpes zoster. The incidence of PHN, defined as zoster-associated pain occurring or persisting after rash healing was significantly lower in brivudin recipients (32.7%) than in acyclovir recipients (43.5%, P=0.006). Mean duration of PHN was similar with brivudin (173 days) and acyclovir (164 days, P=0.270). Despite some methodological disadvantages common to this type of study, the present survey provides for the first evidence that brivudin treatment during acute herpes zoster favourably affects the incidence of PHN in immunocompetent elderly herpes zoster patients.

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