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Famciclovir (Famvir), in a single-dose treatment, has been proven to stop the progression to a full-blown outbreak of recurrent genital herpes (rGH) as well as to shorten the duration of the outbreak. Thus far, famciclovir is the only treatment effective for rGH in a single dose. A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study compared the 1-g dose for 1-day famciclovir with placebo. When patients with rGH initiated treatment with famciclovir within 6 hours of the first sign of outbreak, famciclovir reduced healing time of nonaborted lesions by 2 days. A higher percentage of patients experienced aborted lesions in the famciclovir group (23.3%) than in the placebo group (12.7%). In fact, patients taking famciclovir experienced a reduction in duration of all symptoms: itching, pain, burning, tingling, and tenderness3.3 days versus 5.4 days in the placebo group. Lead investigator Fred Aoki, MD, of the University of Manitoba (Canada), concluded, "Famvir was effective in a single-day dose because it provided a full course of therapy upfront when the virus is most active."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.