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Prophylactic Antivirals Reduce Corneal Disease Recurrences

Last Updated: September 13, 2010.

Individuals with ocular herpes simplex virus treated with prophylactic oral antibiotics appear to be at a lower risk of recurrence of epithelial keratitis, stromal keratitis, conjunctivitis, and blepharitis due to the virus, according to research published in the September issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

MONDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with ocular herpes simplex virus (HSV) treated with prophylactic oral antibiotics appear to be at a lower risk of recurrence of epithelial keratitis, stromal keratitis, conjunctivitis, and blepharitis due to HSV, according to research published in the September issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Ryan C. Young, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues retrospectively assessed patients in a community-based cohort, diagnosed with ocular HSV between 1976 and 2007, to compare the frequency of recurrences and adverse outcomes between patients treated with prophylactic oral antiviral drugs and untreated patients.

The investigators identified 394 patients with ocular HSV, representing an annual incidence of 11.8 per 100,000 individuals. No trends in incidence or adverse outcomes were found during the study period. The investigators found that 175 patients were prescribed oral antiviral therapy. Patients not being treated with prophylactic oral antiviral drugs at the time of recurrence were 9.4 times more likely to have an epithelial keratitis recurrence, 8.4 times more likely to have a stromal keratitis recurrence, and 34.5 times more likely to have a blepharitis or conjunctivitis recurrence. Seventeen of 20 patients who experienced adverse outcomes were not being treated with oral antiviral therapy immediately prior to the adverse event.

"The results of this study suggest that oral antiviral prophylaxis should be considered for patients with frequent recurrences of corneal disease," the authors write.

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