Single-day, patient-initiated famciclovir therapy versus 3-day valacyclovir regimen for recurrent genital herpes: a randomized, double-blind, comparative trial

Mohammed Abudalu, Stephen Tyring, William Koltun, Neil Bodsworth, Kamal Hamed
Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008 September 1, 47 (5): 651-8

BACKGROUND: Recurrent genital herpes is a major problem for patients worldwide. Early episodic treatment with short-course therapy is effective, often stopping progression of outbreaks. This study is the first head-to-head comparison of single-day famciclovir (1000 mg administered twice daily) versus 3-day valacyclovir (500 mg administered twice daily) for episodic therapy in immunocompetent patients.

METHODS: In this multicenter, multinational, double-blind, parallel-group study, 1179 adults with a history of recurrent genital herpes were randomized 1:1 to receive either famciclovir or valacyclovir. Patients initiated treatment within 6 h after a recurrence. The primary objective was to establish noninferiority of single-day famciclovir, compared with a 3-day course of valacyclovir, in time to healing of all nonaborted lesions in a modified intent-to-treat population.

RESULTS: This study established that single-day famciclovir therapy was noninferior to 3-day valacyclovir therapy in reducing time to healing of all nonaborted genital herpes lesions (median time to healing, 4.25 days vs. 4.08 days). Approximately one-third of patients in each treatment group had aborted genital herpes episodes, suggesting that both treatments have similar efficacy in preventing outbreaks or progression of lesions beyond the papule stage. There was no significant difference in time to resolution of symptoms associated with recurrence. The overall incidence of adverse events was similar (23.2% for the famciclovir group vs. 22.3% for the valacyclovir group), with headache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain reported most often.

CONCLUSIONS: Single-day famciclovir (1000 mg administered twice daily) was similar to 3-day valacyclovir (500 mg administered twice daily) in both efficacy and safety, representing a more convenient treatment for immunocompetent adults with recurrent genital herpes.

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