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Zovirax cream. (New & Approved).

(acyclovir sodium, GlaxoSmithKline)

The FDA approved Zovirax (acyclovir) cream for the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis (cold sores) in adolescents aged 12 years and older.

* Recommended Dosage: Zovirax cream 5% should be applied topically 5 times per day for 4 days. Therapy should be started as early as possible after onset of signs or symptoms (pain, itching).

* Special Considerations: In studies, the most common skin-related adverse effects with Zovirax cream were local application site reactions, occurring in 5% of patients using the product versus 4% of those using placebo. Reactions included dry or cracked lips, flakiness or dryness of skin, a burning/stinging sensation, and itching.

* Comment: Zovirax cream is the fourth drug approved by the FDA for treating cold sores; other options include Valtrex (valacyclovir) caplets, Denavir (penciclovir) cream, and Abreva (docosanol) cream. "The more options patients have, the better it is for patients," said Dr. Robert Deeter, medical director of anti-infectives at GlaxoSmithKline. The choice of therapy among these four agents is based on physician and/or patient choice, he said.

It is estimated that 44% of pediatric patients are seropositive for herpes simplex virus type 1 infection. However, not all will experience recurrent cold sores. In the adult and pediatric U.S. population, an estimated 60 million people report having cold sores, and 12-25 million of those persons are "real recurrent cold sore sufferers."

The most important message for physicians, Dr. Deeter said, is to treat herpes simplex virus type 1 as soon as possible to shorten the duration of pain and minimize signs such as crusting. Tell patients to look for prodrome symptoms--including itching, redness, or pain--that occur before the redness begins.

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Author:McNamara, Damian; Bureau, Miami
Publication:Pediatric News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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