Drug for Herpes-infected Women Lowers Rate of C-sections

Pharmacy Times
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A study out of the University of Texas(UT) Southwestern is the first large-scaleconfirmation that the antiherpes drugvalacyclovir hydrochloride (Valtrex)effectively reduces the need forCesarean sections (C-sections) in pregnantwomen with genital herpes. C-sectionsprevent the virus from beingpassed on to infants of infected mothers.The randomized, double-blind studyincluded 338 pregnant women with ahistory of genital herpes; 170 receivedvalacyclovir and 168 received placebo.Because of active lesions, C-sectionswere performed on 28 women. In thevalacyclovir group, 7 women had C-sections(4%), while in the placebo group, 21women had C-sections (13%). Researchersalso noted that, at the time ofdelivery, the rate of herpes simplex viruswas reduced by 69%. There were nocomplications in either the valacycloviror the placebo group, and none of thebabies were born with the virus. Leadauthor Dr. Jeanne Sheffield, assistantprofessor of obstetrics and gynecologyat UT Southwestern, said, "Besidesreducing the number of herpes outbreaksat birth, we also dropped thenumbers of women without symptomswho were shedding the virus into thebirth canal." The study was published inthe July 2006 issue of Obstetrics andGynecology.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.

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