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One Day Treatment with Valacyclovir Shows Promise

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If you choose to treat herpes outbreaks as they occur, there is another promising short-course treatment option on the horizon.  While the only one-day episodic treatment currently approved by the FDA is famciclovir (1g twice a day for one day), a new study of valacyclovir demonstrates that it too may be effective as a one-day episodic treatment option.

Recent results of an open-label* pilot study, published in the April issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, highlight the effectiveness of a one-day course of valacyclovir taken at the first signs of a recurrent outbreak. Participants enrolled in the study took a one-day supply of valacyclovir totaling 4g (2g twice daily) at the first sign of recurrence (within 6 hours). Additionally, participants collected swabs of the genital area daily while they experienced symptoms and for 14 days after beginning treatment so researchers could assess viral shedding patterns.

Analysis revealed that the one-day course of treatment with valacyclovir resulted in a reduction in the numbers of days participants experienced both lesions and viral shedding, compared with natural history studies of genital HSV-2. This study joins other recent studies that examine the effectiveness of shorter antiviral treatment regimens.

While the study authors acknowledged that these similar studies followed different methodologies for assessing the duration of lesions and cannot be used for direct comparison, the note that “our results suggest that a 1-day course of valacyclovir would yield similar results to other short regimens in direct comparisons. Such comparative studies should be performed.” Hopefully, continued research into short course therapies will lead to more convenient, and more economical options for those who choose episodic treatment.

*In an open-label study, everyone involved (patients, healthcare providers, and study coordinators) are aware of the treatment assigned and no study participants receive placebo.

 

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