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Vol. 69, No. 8
ISSN: 1488-2159
September 2003


Recurrent Herpes Simplex Labialis: Selected Therapeutic Options


• G. Wayne Raborn, DDS, MS •
• Michael G. A. Grace, PhD •

A b s t r a c t

Recurrent infection with herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), called herpes simplex labialis (HSL), is a global problem for patients with normal immune systems. An effective management program is needed for those with frequent HSL recurrences, particularly if associated morbidity and life-threatening factors are present and the patient's immune status is altered. Over the past 20 years, a variety of antiviral compounds (acyclovir, penciclovir, famciclovir, valacyclovir) have been introduced that may reduce healing time, lesion size and associated pain.

Classical lesions are preceded by a prodrome, but others appear without warning, which makes them more difficult to treat. Various methods of application (intravenous, oral, topical) are used, depending on whether the patient is experiencing recurrent HSL infection or erythema multiforme or is scheduled to undergo a dental procedure, a surgical procedure or a dermatological face peel (the latter being known triggers for recurrence). This article outlines preferred treatment (including drugs and their modes of application) for adults and children in each situation, which should assist practitioners wishing to use antiviral therapy.


MeSH Key Words: antiviral agents/therapeutic use; drug administration routes; herpes labialis/drug therapy
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