What is the role of antiviral agents in the treatment of herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Feb 11, 2021
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Clinical trials showed that oral acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir reduce viral shedding and accelerate resolution of symptoms (eg, pain) in uncomplicated herpes zoster. Some studies suggested that valacyclovir and famciclovir may be superior to acyclovir in resolving pain and accelerating cutaneous healing. In addition, both agents have greater bioavailability than acyclovir and thus require less frequent dosing. [42, 1, 93, 94, 95, 96] Moreover, acyclovir-resistant viral strains are emerging, suggesting a potentially increased role for newer agents.

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