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Valacyclovir Reduces Herpes Simplex Virus 2 Shedding

Randomized study finds it reduces total shedding by 71% compared to placebo

THURSDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In immunocompetent patients infected with herpes simplex virus 2, treatment with the drug valacyclovir significantly reduces viral shedding, according to a study published in the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Kenneth H. Fife, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues randomly assigned 152 infected patients to receive either 1 gram per day of valacyclovir or placebo for 60 days.

The researchers found that that the treatment group had significantly fewer days of total shedding than the placebo group. They found that treatment reduced total shedding by 71 percent, sub-clinical shedding by 58 percent and clinical shedding by 64 percent, and that it was not associated with any toxic effects compared to placebo.

"Patients with genital herpes and their sexual partners regard the transmission of this infection as their chief concern," the authors wrote. "Furthermore, other serious consequences are associated with HSV-2 infection. Prevalent HSV-2 infection had been associated with a 3-fold increased risk of HIV acquisition among men and women, and acquisition of HSV-2 during late pregnancy poses a high risk of transmission of HSV-2 to the neonate with associated high morbidity and mortality."

This study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline.

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