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The effect of treating herpes zoster with oral acyclovir in preventing postherpetic neuralgia. A meta-analysis.

AbstractBACKGROUND:
Herpes zoster is a common affliction in older patients, with up to 15% experiencing some residual pain in the distribution of the rash several months after healing. Despite numerous randomized clinical trials, the effect of treating herpes zoster with oral acyclovir in preventing postherpetic neuralgia remains uncertain because of conflicting results.
METHODS:
Meta-analysis of published randomized clinical trials on the use of acyclovir to prevent postherpetic neuralgia using the fixed-effects model of Peto.
RESULTS:
Thirty clinical trials of treatment with oral acyclovir in immunocompetent adults were identified. After excluding studies with duplicate data, suboptimal and topical dosing, non-placebo-controlled or nonrandomized designs, and those using intravenous acyclovir, 5 trials were found to be homogeneous and were combined for analysis. From these trials, the summary odds ratio for the incidence of "any pain" in the distribution of rash at 6 months in adults treated with acyclovir was 0.54 (95% confidence interval, 0.36-0.81).
CONCLUSION:
Treatment of herpes zoster with 800 mg/d of oral acyclovir within 72 hours of rash onset may reduce the incidence of residual pain at 6 months by 46% in immunocompetent adults.
AuthorsJ L Jackson, R Gibbons, G Meyer, L Inouye
JournalArchives of internal medicine (Arch Intern Med) Vol. 157 Issue 8 Pg. 909-12 (Apr 28 1997) ISSN: 0003-9926 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID9129551 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Meta-Analysis)
Chemical References
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Acyclovir
Topics
  • Acyclovir (therapeutic use)
  • Antiviral Agents (therapeutic use)
  • Herpes Zoster (complications, drug therapy)
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Neuralgia (prevention & control, virology)
  • Odds Ratio
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome

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