Disseminated herpes zoster in the immunocompromised host: A comparative trial of acyclovir and vidarabine

Richard J. Whitley, John W. Gnann, Daniel Hinthorn, Chein Liu, Richard B Pollard, Frederick Hayden, Gregory J. Mertz, Michael Oxman, Seng Jaw Soong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Seventy-three immunocompromised patients with disseminated herpes zoster were evaluated in a double-blind controlled trial of acyclovir (n = 37) versus vidarabine (n = 36) therapy. Acyclovir was administered at 30 mg/kg/day at 8-h intervals and vidarabine was given as a continuous 12-h infusion at 10 mg/kg/day for 7 days (longer if resolution of cutaneous or visceral disease was incomplete). No demographic differences existed between treatment groups. No deaths attributable to varicella-zoster virus infection occurred within 1 month of treatment. Neither rates of cutaneous healing, resolution of acute neuritis, and frequency of postherpetic neuralgia nor adverse clinical and laboratory events differed between treatment groups. Acyclovir recipients were discharged from the hospital more promptly than vidarabine recipients (P = .04, log rank test). These data indicate that disseminated herpes zoster is amenable to therapy with either acyclovir or vidarabine; resultant mortality is low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-455
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Immunology


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