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ZOVIRAX(R) BENEFITS OTHERWISE HEALTHY ADULTS WITH CHICKENPOX

 ZOVIRAX(R) BENEFITS OTHERWISE HEALTHY ADULTS WITH CHICKENPOX
 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The antiviral medication Zovirax(R) brand acyclovir significantly reduced the duration and severity of chickenpox in otherwise healthy adults when given within 24 hours of the onset of the characteristic chickenpox rash, according to study results published in the Sept. 1, 1992 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
 The indications for Zovirax were expanded in February 1992 to include the use of Zovirax for the treatment of varicella, more commonly known as chickenpox.
 "Adult varicella, although uncommon, remains a serious problem and accounts for one fourth of all varicella-related fatalities in the United States," the authors wrote. "We showed that early acyclovir therapy significantly affected the clinical course of varicella."
 The placebo-controlled study involved 148 Navy and Marine Corps personnel at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego who were hospitalized and who could be treated within 72 hours of rash onset. Servicemen and women with varicella are routinely hospitalized if they reside on board a ship or in a barracks to control infection and to facilitate patient care.
 Impact of Therapy
 Participants received one 800 mg tablet or placebo five times a day for seven days. Patients receiving Zovirax Tablets within 24 hours of rash onset had a shorter time until all their lesions were crusted and a statistically significant reduction in the maximum number of lesions.
 Duration of fever and severity of symptoms were also reduced by early therapy. Late therapy (25 to 72 hours after symptom onset) had no effect on the course of illness.
 "Oral acyclovir appears to be a reasonable therapeutic option for those immunocompetent patients presenting within 24 hours of rash onset," the authors wrote. "Intravenous therapy will continue to be the standard therapy for those with complicated disease (pneumonia or encephalitis) and immunocompromised hosts."
 The most frequent adverse events reported in varicella clinical trials with Zovirax were diarrhea, abdominal pain, rash, vomiting and flatulence. These events were also reported in a similar proportion of placebo recipients. Adverse experience reports in the varicella trials were consistent with many pre-and post-marketing studies of Zovirax for other indications. In varicella clinical trials, therapy with Zovirax did not affect the antibody response to varicella-zoster virus measured one month or one year following treatment. Currently, there is no information on the longer-term effects on immunity.
 Chickenpox in the Uase affecting approximately 3.5 million people each year in the United States. One to two percent of varicella cases occur in adults. The illness is often more severe than in children and is associated with a longer course of disease and a 25-fold increased risk of death.
 The oral formulations of Zovirax are a banana-flavored suspension (liquid), a 200 mg capsule and an 800 mg tablet. Recommended dosages vary depending on the age and weight of the individual. Cost of therapy for children is $30-55; cost of therapy for adults at the dosage used in this study would be approximately $100.
 Zovirax is an antiviral medicine which was discovered and developed by Burroughs Wellcome Co., a research-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
 -0- 9/1/92
 /CONTACT: Kathy Bartlett, 919-248-4302, or Sharon Bickus, 919-248-8611, both of Burroughs Wellcome Co./ CO: Burroughs Wellcome Co. ST: North Carolina IN: MTC SU:


CM -- CH001 -- 5278 09/01/92 09:05 EDT
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Date:Sep 1, 1992
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