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Great Potential Seen in Antivirals for Skin Disease.

ROCHESTER, MINN. -- Investigative formulations of two established antiviral agents--cidofovir and penciclovir--bear watching because of their dermatologic potential, Dr. Patricia M. Witman advised at a dermatology meeting sponsored by the Mayo Foundation.

Cidofovir (Vistide) is already marketed by Gilead Sciences in an intravenous preparation for the treatment of cytomegalovirus retinitis.

Following anecdotal reports of this product's efficacy in HIV-infected patients with refractory viral skin disorders, topical gel and cream formulations have been developed with an eye toward establishing new indications for the drug, said Dr. Witman, a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic.

Topical cidofovir is being studied in clinical trials in AIDS patients with condylomata acuminata, acyclovirresistant herpes simplex, and molluscum contagiosum.

"In AIDS patients this could be a real boost for us and possibly could have implications for other patients with normal immune status," Dr. Witman commented at the meeting, which was also sponsored by the Minnesota Dermatologic Society.

In fact, topical cidofovir is already being formally studied for the treatment of recurrent herpes simplex in immunocompetent patients.

Topical penciclovir cream (Denavir) is marketed by SmithKline Beecham for the treatment of herpes labialis.

New products can take advantage of the medication's long intracellular half-life, whick is approximately 1020 hours, Dr. Witman noted.

An investigational intravenous preparation is currently being tested as a more convenient, less frequently dosed alternative to acyclovir for the treatment of mucocutaneous herpes in immunocompromised patients.

As for topical penciclovir cream, large randomized trials have demonstrated that it shortens the duration of herpes labialis lesions, as well as the duration of pain, by about 1 day.

"It's not as great a benefit as we'd like, but it's certainly another option we can offer our patients, especially if you feel a little uncomfortable about getting into oral suppressive therapy," Dr. Witman commented.

Patients apply the penciclovir cream to lesions every 2 hours for up to 4 days.

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Comment:Great Potential Seen in Antivirals for Skin Disease.
Author:Jancin, Bruce
Publication:Family Practice News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2000
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