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Intravenous Antivirals May Ease Postherpetic Neuralgia

Intravenous acyclovir plus oral valacyclovir helped 53 percent of patients in uncontrolled trial

TUESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Intravenous acyclovir every eight hours for two weeks, followed by a month of three daily doses of 1,000 milligrams of oral valacyclovir, may help curb postherpetic neuralgia in some patients, according to the results of an open-label, small trial published in the July issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Dianna Quan, M.D., of the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues studied the effect of antiviral therapy on 15 patients with moderate to severe postherpetic neuralgia. The patients were treated with 10 milligrams per kilogram of intravenous acyclovir every eight hours for two weeks, followed by a three daily doses of oral valacyclovir.

At the end of the trial, eight patients (53 percent) reported a clinically significant reduction in pain associated with their condition.

"Clinical improvement reported by most of our patients warrants further investigation in a larger, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial," the authors write.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Avenir Foundation.

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