RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Foscarnet treatment of acyclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus infection in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: preliminary results of a controlled, randomized, regimen-comparative trial.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) resistant to acyclovir can produce persistent mucocutaneous ulcerative disease in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The incidence of clinically significant acyclovir-resistant HSV disease has dramatically increased since the advent of the AIDS epidemic. The primary mechanism of acyclovir resistance is induction of viral mutants defective or deficient in thymidine kinase, the viral-encoded enzyme, which catalyzes the rate-limiting step in the triphosphorylation of acyclovir to its active form (acyclovir triphosphate). Foscarnet, a potent inhibitor of HSV DNA polymerase, does not require phosphorylation for its antiviral activity. This compound has been found to be effective in the treatment of acyclovir-resistant HSV infection by several investigators. A recently completed dose-comparative trial of foscarnet in AIDS patients with acyclovir-resistant HSV has confirmed the safety and efficacy of two doses of foscarnet (40 mg/kg every 8 or 12 hours) in the treatment of this disease, as well as providing preliminary evidence supporting the utility of foscarnet maintenance therapy in delaying recurrence of HSV lesions. Analysis of data from this trial has been complicated by the tremendous variability in lesion size at initiation of therapy, making any statistically valid comparison of treatment regimens almost impossible. A further trial in AIDS patients with acyclovir-resistant HSV infection has been designed to define better the role of foscarnet maintenance and, in light of evidence that a significant proportion of initial recurrences are due to acyclovir-sensitive HSV, to examine the potential utility of acyclovir maintenance following foscarnet induction therapy.

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