OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy of a 1-day course of valacyclovir in reducing the duration and severity of genital herpes recurrences and to measure the frequency of viral shedding episodes subsequent to antiviral therapy. STUDY DESIGN: In an open-label pilot study, patients with recurrent genital herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) infection were given a 1-day course of valacyclovir (2000 mg given by mouth twice daily) to be taken at the first sign of recurrence or prodrome. Participants maintained diaries of signs and symptoms and collected genital swabs for viral culture while lesions persisted and HSV DNA PCR for 14 days after initiating treatment. RESULTS: Ninety (78%; 41 men, 49 women) of the 115 enrolled persons experienced either a lesional recurrence or prodrome. Seventy- seven (86%) participants developed lesions; 4 (5%) participants experienced a second lesional recurrence during the 14-day study period. The median lesion duration was 5 days, episode duration was 5 days, and pain duration was 3 days. Viral shedding was detected in 60 persons by PCR and 31 persons by culture. Shedding detected by culture lasted for a median of 2 days, and shedding detected by PCR lasted for a median of 3 days. Of 60 participants with viral shedding, 14 (23%) had an additional shedding episode after their initial lesion healed, lasting for a median of 2 days. CONCLUSIONS: A 1-day course of valacyclovir may be a convenient treatment for recurrent genital herpes and comparative trials are warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases