Which medications in the drug class Antivirals are used in the treatment of Herpes Simplex Encephalitis?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Wayne E Anderson, DO, FAHS, FAAN; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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The goals of using antivirals are to shorten the clinical course, prevent complications, prevent development of latency and subsequent recurrences, decrease transmission, and eliminate established latency.

Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Acyclovir is the drug of choice for HSE. It has demonstrated inhibitory activity against both herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and is taken up selectively by infected cells. Mortality from HSE before use of acyclovir was 60-70%; since acyclovir, it is approximately 30%.

Famciclovir (Famvir)

After ingestion, drug is rapidly biotransformed into the active compound penciclovir and phosphorylated by viral thymidine kinase. By competition with deoxyguanosine triphosphate, penciclovir triphosphate inhibits viral polymerase, subsequently inhibiting viral DNA synthesis/replication.

Adjust the dose in patients with renal insufficiency or hepatic disease.

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