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1.  Ocular manifestations of HIV infection. 
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the frequency of ocular complications and the clinical outcomes of these complications in patients with various stages of HIV infection. METHODS: Retrospective review of all HIV-infected patients seen in an AIDS ophthalmology clinic from November 1983 through December 31, 1992. RESULTS: Eleven-hundred sixty-three patients were seen for ophthalmologic evaluation. Of these, 781 had the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), 226 had symptomatic HIV infection (AIDs-related complex [ARC]), and 156 had asymptomatic HIV infection. Non-infectious HIV retinopathy was the most common ocular complication, affecting 50% of the patients with AIDS, 34% of the patients with ARC, and 3% of the patients with asymptomatic HIV infection. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis was the most common opportunistic ocular infection, affecting 37% of the patients with AIDS. Other opportunistic ocular infections, including ocular toxoplasmosis, varicella zoster virus retinitis, and Pneumocystis choroidopathy were all much less common, each occurring in < or = 1% of the patients with AIDS. Treatment of CMV retinitis with either foscarnet or ganciclovir was successful in initially controlling the retinitis. However, relapse represented a significant problem and required frequent re-inductions. As a consequence of the retinal damage associated with relapse, loss of visual acuity occurred. The median time to a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse for all eyes with CMV retinitis was 13.4 months, and the median time to a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye was 21.1 months. At last follow-up, 75% of the patients had a final visual acuity of 20/40 or better in at least one eye. Retinal detachments were a frequent ophthalmologic complication of CMV retinitis with a cumulative probability of a retinal detachment in at least one eye of 57% at 12 months after the diagnosis of CMV retinitis. Herpes zoster ophthalmicus developed in 3% of the overall series and was seen in all stages of HIV infection. Fifty-six percent of the cases of ocular toxoplasmosis had simultaneous toxoplasmic cerebritis. Ocular toxoplasmosis responded to standard anti-microbial therapy. Varicella zoster virus retinitis, when manifested by the acute retinal necrosis (ARN) syndrome, responded to intravenous acyclovir therapy. Conversely, in a limited number of patients with the progressive outer retinal necrosis syndrome, the disease responded poorly to intravenous acyclovir therapy, but appeared to respond to combination foscarnet and acyclovir therapy. Neuro-ophthalmic lesions were present in 6% of the patients with AIDS. The most common cause of a neuro-ophthalmic lesion was cryptococcal meningitis, and 25% of the patients with cryptococcal meningitis developed a neuro-ophthalmic complication. CONCLUSIONS: Ocular manifestations are common in patients with AIDS. CMV retinitis represented a major vision-threatening problem in these patients. While available therapy was successful in initially controlling the retinitis, the phenomenon of relapse resulted in some degree of long-term visual loss. Preservation of the patient's visual acuity in at least one eye was generally successful. Other opportunistic ocular infections were substantially less common than CMV retinitis but require aggressive therapy.
PMCID: PMC1312074  PMID: 8719695
2.  Valacyclovir and Acyclovir Pharmacokinetics in Immunocompromised Children 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2008;51(4):504-508.
Valacyclovir, an orally administered pro-drug of acyclovir, is utilized in the therapy of herpes simplex and herpes zoster infections. Little data regarding the pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability are available for pediatric patients. This report describes acyclovir pharmacokinetics following valacyclovir administration in immunocompromised pediatric patients, compares pharmacokinetic parameters following oral valacyclovir and IV acyclovir, and provides a limited assessment of efficacy in the setting of active herpes zoster infection.
A total of 37 immunocompromised children were enrolled on one of two studies. Pharmacokinetic data are available for 32 patients following valacyclovir (15 mg/kg) administration, 11 of whom also had pharmacokinetic sampling following IV acyclovir administration. Three patients received valacyclovir as treatment for herpes zoster infections.
Mean (± SD) Cmax values for acyclovir following oral valacyclovir were 18.8 ± 7 uM with a total exposure of 4106 ± 1519 uM•min. The mean bioavailability of acyclovir from valacyclovir was 64%. Grade 1 nausea and emesis, which occurred in 5 patients was the only valacyclovir-related toxicity. Two of the three patients treated for herpes zoster had complete scabbing of lesions by day 9.
Valacyclovir (15 mg/kg) was well tolerated in pediatric patients and demonstrated excellent bioavailablity. Consideration should be given to the use of oral valacyclovir for the treatment of herpes zoster in clinically stable pediatric oncology patients.
PMCID: PMC4063282  PMID: 18561175
valacyclovir; acyclovir; pediatrics; pharmacokinetics
3.  High-Dose, Short-Duration, Early Valacyclovir Therapy for Episodic Treatment of Cold Sores: Results of Two Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Studies 
Oral valacyclovir is better absorbed than oral acyclovir, increasing acyclovir bioavailability three- to fivefold. This provides the opportunity to explore whether high systemic acyclovir concentrations are effective in the treatment of cold sores (herpes labialis). Two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies were conducted. Subjects were provided with 2 g of valacyclovir twice daily for 1 day (1-day treatment), 2 g of valacyclovir twice daily for 1 day and then 1 g of valacyclovir twice daily for 1 day (2-day treatment), or a matching placebo and instructed to initiate treatment upon the first symptoms of a cold sore. In study 1, the median duration of the episode (primary endpoint) was reduced by 1.0 day (P = 0.001) with 1-day treatment and 0.5 days (P = 0.009) with 2-day treatment compared to placebo. Similarly, the mean duration of the episode was statistically significantly reduced by 1.1 days with 1-day treatment and 0.7 days with 2-day treatment compared to placebo. The proportion of subjects in whom cold sore lesion development was prevented and/or blocked was increased by 6.4% (P = 0.096) with 1-day treatment and 8.5% (P = 0.061) with 2-day treatment compared to placebo. The time to lesion healing and time to cessation of pain and/or discomfort were statistically significantly reduced with valacyclovir compared to placebo. In study 2, results similar to those in study 1 were obtained. AEs were similar across treatment groups. These studies provide evidence supporting a simple, 1-day valacyclovir treatment regimen for cold sores that is safe and effective. The 1-day valacyclovir regimen offers patients a unique and convenient dosing alternative compared to available topical therapies.
PMCID: PMC149313  PMID: 12604544
4.  Efficacy and necessity of prophylactic vitrectomy for acute retinal necrosis syndrome 
To compare the efficacy of prophylactic vitrectomy for acute retinal necrosis syndrome(ARN) with routine treatment in Chinese patients, thereby investigate the necessity of prophylactic vitrectomy for ARN.
Thirty patients (37 eyes) were retrospectively included in this study. The eyes were divided into 2 groups by treatment, including routine treatment, which consisted of antiviral medication and vitrectomy after retinal detachment (RD) (n=21), and prophylactic vitrectomy, which consisted of antiviral medication and vitrectomy for the prevention of RD performed during the active inflammatory phase (n=16). The extent of necrosis was determined by fundus photographs at the time of presentation (for eyes with mild vitreous opacity) or the drawings in the operation records. Necrosis of the 37 eyes was divided into 3 grades, including peripheral, middle-peripheral and extensive. The follow-up period ranged from 8 to 57 months. Differences in visual acuity and necrosis between groups were identified using independent samples t-test.
Necrosis was more extensive in the routine treatment group than in the prophylactic vitrectomy group (P<0.05). In the routine treatment group, conservative treatment improved necrosis and prevented RD in 6 eyes (29%). Seven eyes (33%) obtained anatomical success, but retinal redetachment occurred in 8 eyes (57%). There were also 5 eyes (24%) developed ocular hypotony or atrophy. Ten eyes (48%) achieved equal or increased visual acuity. In the prophylactic vitrectomy group, RD occurred in 2 eyes (13%). Twelve eyes (75%) were completely anatomically successful, and 10 eyes underwent silicone oil removal. Only one eye (6%) became ocular hypotony. Fourteen eyes (88%) achieved equal or increased visual acuity. The prophylactic vitrectomy group achieved better vision trends than the routine treatment group (P<0.05). Eyes with peripheral necrosis had better visual outcomes than those with mid-peripheral (P<0.05) or extensive (P<0.05) necrosis. However, there was no significant difference between eyes with mid-peripheral and extensive necrosis (P=0.3008)
Prophylactic vitrectomy can prevent RD and improve the prognosis of ARN, making it an option for cases with rapidly progressing necrosis despite antiviral treatment and cases with moderate to extensive necrosis and severe vitreous opacity.
PMCID: PMC3428546  PMID: 22937510
acute retinal necrosis; prophylactic vitrectomy; retinal detachment; visual acuity
5.  Phase I Clinical Trial of Valacyclovir and Standard of Care Cyclophosphamide in Children With Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma in Malawi 
Treatment options for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated Burkitt lymphoma in Africa are limited because of chemotherapy-associated toxicity. Since other EBV-associated diseases respond to antiviral agents, we investigated adding an antiviral agent, valacyclovir, to the current chemotherapy regimen in Malawi. In this phase I safety study, we showed that cyclophosphamide combined with valacyclovir was safe. Phase II efficacy trials should now be undertaken.
Nucleoside analogues, including acyclovir, ganciclovir, and their precursors, have shown some efficacy against several Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated diseases, including active EBV infection and posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). They have also been proposed as a possible treatment for EBV-associated malignancies, including endemic Burkitt lymphoma. The safety of nucleoside analogues in combination with chemotherapy in the developing world has not been studied and is necessary before any large scale efficacy trials are conducted.
Patients and Methods
Children 3–15 years old meeting inclusion criteria were assigned to a 3+3 dose escalation trial of combination valacyclovir (15 and 30 mg/kg, 3 times daily for 40 days) and cyclophosphamide (CPM) (40 mg/kg day 1, 60 mg/kg on days 8, 18, and 28) or CPM monotherapy. Subjects were monitored for clinical and laboratory toxicity and had EBV levels measured regularly. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was our primary outcome.
We found that the combination of valacyclovir and CPM was safe and did not lead to any DLT compared with CPM monotherapy. The most common side effects were vomiting, abdominal pain, and tumor site pain, which were similar in both arms. Patients with measurable serum EBV showed decreased loads over their treatment course.
We recommend a phase II valacyclovir dose of 30 mg/kg 3 times daily for 40 days. We also observed that 6 of our 12 patients with presumed Burkitt lymphoma had measurable EBV viral loads that decreased over the course of their treatment, suggesting that phase II studies should investigate this correlation further. This study paves the way for a phase II efficacy trial of combined valacyclovir and CPM in the treatment of endemic Burkitt lymphoma.
PMCID: PMC3654008  PMID: 23260601
6.  Transpupillary thermotherapy for atypical central serous chorioretinopathy 
Central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC) has been traditionally treated with laser photocoagulation. We thought that transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT) utilizing a lower temperature than that of conventional laser photocoagulation might minimize permanent retinal and choroidal damage. Studies suggest that undesirable effects on vision due to TTT are minimal even if it is applied to foveal and/or parafoveal lesions when TTT requires a larger irradiation spot. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of TTT in the management of atypical CSC.
We defined atypical CSC as bullous retinal detachment with diffuse or several leakages, severe leakage with fibrin formation under serous retinal detachment, or leakage within a pigment epithelium detachment. Eight consecutive patients with atypical CSC underwent visual acuity testing, ophthalmic examination, color photography, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography to evaluate the results of transpupillary thermotherapy. Retreatment of atypical CSC was based on ophthalmic examination, optical coherence tomography, and fluorescein angiography. TTT was performed on the leaking spots shown in fluorescein angiography, with a power of 50–250 mW, spot size of 500–1200 μm, and exposure time of 13–60 seconds to minimize retinal damage.
In five of eight affected eyes, serous detachments completely resolved within 1 month after the initial TTT. One eye had persistent subretinal fluid and required a second TTT treatment. Two eyes showed no resolution of CSC and were treated by conventional photocoagulation. Initial best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) ranged from 20/600 to 20/20 (mean, 20/40; median, 20/30). Final BCVA ranged from 20/200 to 20/20 (mean, 20/25; median, 20/20). BCVA improved in all cases. Only two eyes with persistent subretinal fibrin and existing retinal pigment epithelial alternations in macular area showed limited improvement of BCVA despite the absence of subretinal exudation. The presence of retinal attachment was confirmed by optical coherence tomography in six eyes (75%).
TTT seems to be effective for the treatment of atypical CSC in the short term. Additional studies are necessary to evaluate the long-term effectiveness and safety.
PMCID: PMC3273405  PMID: 22331974
transpupillary thermotherapy; central serous chorioretinopathy; optical coherence tomography; fluorescein angiography; serous detachment
7.  Acute retinal necrosis: a national population‐based study to assess the incidence, methods of diagnosis, treatment strategies and outcomes in the UK 
The British Journal of Ophthalmology  2007;91(11):1452-1455.
To determine the incidence, methods of diagnosis, treatment strategies and outcomes for acute retinal necrosis (ARN) in the UK.
A 12‐month active case ascertainment study was carried out between March 2001 and March 2002 to record cases of ARN presenting to ophthalmologists via the British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit (BOSU) reporting system. Questionnaires were sent to the reporting consultants, requesting data on patient characteristics, presentation, clinical findings, investigations and treatment. Diagnosis was made using the American Uveitis Society diagnostic criteria. Further questionnaires were sent at 2 weeks and 6 months to assess outcome and therapies.
74 cases of ARN were reported by 58 consultants between March 2001 and March 2002. Questionnaires were returned for 49 cases (66.2%), of which 18 (36.7%) were excluded. Of the 31 cases included, 22 (71.0%) were male and 9 (29.0%) were female. The age range was 13 to 85 years (mean 54.3 years). 28 cases (90.3%) were unilateral, with 3 patients (9.7%) presenting with bilateral ARN.
An aqueous or vitreous biopsy was performed in only 18 patients, with one patient having both. Herpes viral DNA analysis was performed on all 19 biopsies, with identification of the viral DNA in 16; results from 3 biopsies were not documented. Varicella zoster virus (VZV) was the commonest cause identified in 10 patients (56%).
Of the 31 subjects, 27 (87.1%) were treated for ARN with systemic antiviral treatment: with intravenous antiviral in 23 cases (85.2%) and oral antiviral in 4 cases (14.8%). 21 of these patients went on to receive oral antiviral maintenance therapy. In addition to antiviral treatment, systemic steroids were given to 16 subjects (51.6%). Surgical intervention for retinal detachment was performed on 5 patients.
During the 12‐month study period, 31 cases of ARN met the diagnostic criteria set by the American Uveitis Society. The incidence in the UK based on this study is approximately 1 case per 1.6 to 2.0 million population per year. We have ascertained that the management of ARN throughout the UK is variable, suggesting that national guidelines would be of benefit.
PMCID: PMC2095441  PMID: 17504853
8.  Valacyclovir for the prevention of recurrent herpes simplex virus eye disease after excimer laser photokeratectomy. 
PURPOSE: A variety of factors have been reported as inducing the reactivation of latent herpes simplex virus (HSV), among them stress, trauma, and UV radiation. Excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a surgical procedure utilizing a 193 nm ultraviolet light to alter the curvature of the cornea and hence correct vision. Reactivation of ocular herpes simplex keratitis following such excimer laser PRK has been reported. All published cases of HSV reactivation following excimer laser treatment in humans are reviewed. The present study evaluates whether stress, trauma of the corneal de-epithelialization prior to the laser, or the excimer laser treatment itself to the stromal bed induces this ocular reactivation of the latent HSV, and whether a systemic antiviral agent, valacyclovir, would prevent such laser PRK-induced reactivation of the HSV. METHODS: Forty-three normal 1.5- to 2.5-kg New Zealand white rabbits were infected on the surface of the cornea with HSV-1, strain RE. The animals were monitored until resolution, and then all animals were divided into 5 treatment groups: (1) de-epithelialization only, intraperitoneal (i.p.) saline for 14 days; (2) de-epithelialization plus laser, i.p. saline for 14 days; (3) de-epithelialization plus laser, valacyclovir 50 mg/kg per day i.p. for 14 days; (4) de-epithelialization plus laser, valacyclovir 100 mg/kg per day i.p. for 14 days; (5) de-epithelialization plus laser, valacyclovir 150 mg/kg per day i.p. for 14 days. Animals were evaluated in a masked fashion by clinical examination biweekly and viral cultures biweekly through day 28. RESULTS: The reactivation rates were as follows: group 1, 0%; group 2, 67%; group 3, 50%; group 4, 17%; and group 5, 0%. Viral titers were negative in animals that had no reactivation but persistently positive in those that had reactivation (day 6 through day 28). CONCLUSIONS: Excimer laser (193 nm) treatment can trigger reactivation of ocular herpes disease (67%) and viral shedding in the latently infected rabbit. De-epithelialization alone is not sufficient to cause reactivation or viral shedding. Prophylaxis with intraperitoneal valacyclovir decreases the recurrence rate in a dose-response fashion. At 150 mg/kg per day, there are no recurrences. The presence of persistent viral shedding in reactivated animals may correlate with cases of late HSV recurrence reported in humans undergoing excimer treatment. The data suggest that humans undergoing excimer laser procedures for correction of refractive errors or treatment of corneal scars with a history of herpetic keratitis are at increased risk for reactivation. Such patients, however, may appropriately be considered for prophylactic systemic antiviral medication at the time of the laser procedure in order to decrease the possibility of recurrence.
PMCID: PMC1298232  PMID: 11190029
9.  Combination Systemic and Intravitreal Antiviral Therapy in The Management of Acute Retinal Necrosis Syndrome (An American Ophthalmological Society Thesis) 
To compare the outcomes of combination systemic and intravitreal antiviral therapy vs systemic antiviral therapy alone for treating acute retinal necrosis syndrome (ARN). We hypothesize that combination therapy might result in superior visual acuity (VA) and retinal detachment (RD) outcomes vs traditional systemic antiviral therapy alone.
A retrospective, interventional, comparative single-center study of patients with ARN. We reviewed demographic data, herpesvirus diagnoses, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results, VA, RD, and the use of systemic and intravitreal antiviral therapy. Outcome measures included VA improvement by 2 or more lines, severe visual loss, VA ≤20/200, and RD.
We studied 29 eyes of 24 patients, treated from 1987 through 2009. Mean age was 42.6 years and mean follow-up was 44.0 months. Twelve patients (14 eyes) were treated with combined systemic and intravitreal antiviral therapy and 12 patients (15 eyes) with systemic therapy alone. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that patients receiving combination intravitreal and systemic antiviral therapy were more likely to have VA improved by 2 lines or greater (P=.006). Patients receiving combination therapy also showed a decreased incidence of progression to severe visual loss (0.13/patient-years [PY]) compared to patients receiving systemic therapy alone (0.54/PY, P=.02) and had decreased incidence of RD (0.29/PY vs 0.74/PY, P=.03).
Combination oral and intravitreal antiviral therapy may improve visual and functional outcomes in patients with ARN. Clinicians should consider prompt administration of combination systemic and intravitreal antiviral therapy as first-line treatment for patients with clinical features of ARN.
PMCID: PMC3868412  PMID: 24385671
10.  Population Pharmacokinetics of Acyclovir in Children and Young People with Malignancy after Administration of Intravenous Acyclovir or Oral Valacyclovir▿  
Acyclovir is effective in the prevention and treatment of herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infections. The aim of this study was to characterize the population pharmacokinetics of acyclovir observed following treatment with intravenous acyclovir and oral valacyclovir (valaciclovir) in young people with malignancy. Plasma acyclovir concentration-time data were collected from 43 patients (age range, 9 months to 20 years) who had been given multiple doses of acyclovir (5 mg/kg of body weight) and/or valacyclovir (10 mg/kg). Nonlinear mixed-effect modeling was employed to analyze acyclovir population pharmacokinetics and identify influential covariates. Simulations (n = 1,000) were conducted to explore the ability of the current doses to maintain acyclovir concentrations above the recommended 50% inhibitory concentration for HSV or VZV (0.56 mg/liter or 1.125 mg/liter, respectively) for more than 12 h. A one-compartment pharmacokinetic model with first-order elimination best described the acyclovir concentration-time data. The population mean estimates for clearance (CL), volume of distribution (V), absorption rate (ka), and bioavailability (F) were 3.55 liters/h, 7.36 liters, 0.63 h−1, and 0.60, respectively. Inclusion of body weight and estimated creatinine CL (CLCR) in the final model reduced the interindividual variabilities in CL and V from 61% to 24% and from 75% to 36%, respectively. Simulations revealed that with the use of the current doses, maximal efficacy can be achieved in over 45% of patients weighing 25 to 50 kg and with CLCR levels of 2.0 to 4.0 liters/h/m2, but only in a much smaller proportion of patients, with low weights (10 kg) and high CLCRs (5.5 liters/h/m2), suggesting that higher doses are required for this subgroup. This validated population pharmacokinetic model for acyclovir may be used to develop dosing guidelines for safe and effective antiviral therapy in young people with malignancy.
PMCID: PMC2704705  PMID: 19414579
11.  Pharmacokinetics of Acyclovir after Intravenous Infusion of Acyclovir and after Oral Administration of Acyclovir and Its Prodrug Valacyclovir in Healthy Adult Horses▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2007;51(12):4308-4314.
The purpose of this study was twofold. The first aim was to evaluate the oral bioavailability and pharmacokinetics (PKs) of acyclovir in horses after intravenous (i.v.) administration and after oral administration of acyclovir and its prodrug, valacyclovir. Second, we aimed to combine these PK data with pharmacodynamic (PD) information, i.e., 50% effective concentrations (EC50 values) from in vitro studies, to design an optimal dosage schedule. Three treatments were administered to healthy adult horses: 10 mg of acyclovir/kg of body weight delivered as an i.v. infusion over 1 h, 20 mg of acyclovir/kg administered as tablets by nasogastric intubation, and 20 mg of valacyclovir/kg administered as tablets by nasogastric intubation. Total plasma concentrations were measured by a high-performance liquid chromatography method combined with fluorescence detection, while unbound plasma concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The peak concentration of i.v. acyclovir was approximately 10 μg/ml for both the total and the unbound plasma concentrations. The mean half-life of elimination was between 5.05 h (total concentration) and 11.9 h (unbound concentration). Oral administration of acyclovir resulted in low maximum concentration in plasma (Cmax) and poor bioavailability. A 10-times-higher Cmax and an 8-times-higher bioavailability were achieved with oral administration of valacyclovir. The i.v. administration of 10 mg/kg acyclovir and the oral administration of 20 mg/kg valacyclovir achieved concentrations within the sensitivity range of equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1). The higher bioavailability of valacyclovir makes it an attractive candidate for the prophylactic and/or therapeutic treatment of horses infected with EHV-1. The results from the PK/PD modeling showed that a dosage of 40 mg/kg valacyclovir, administered three times daily, would be sufficient to reach plasma concentrations above the EC50 values.
PMCID: PMC2167972  PMID: 17846132
12.  Acyclovir Levels in Serum and Cerebrospinal Fluid after Oral Administration of Valacyclovir 
The possible involvement of herpesviruses in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) was recently investigated in a clinical trial of valacyclovir in patients with MS. As an important part of that survey we performed an independent pharmacokinetic study in order to determine the concentration of acyclovir in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The concentrations of acyclovir in serum and CSF were measured at steady state after 6 days of oral treatment with 1,000 mg of valacyclovir three times a day. Samples were obtained from 10 patients with MS. All patients had normal renal function, and none had signs of a damaged blood-CSF barrier. The maximum concentration of acyclovir in serum was reached after 1 to 3 h (mean ± standard deviation [SD], 27.1 ± 5.6 μM), and the minimum concentration in serum was 3.1 ± 1.1 μM (mean ± SD). The acyclovir concentrations in CSF at 2 and 8 h were essentially stable, with the mean ± SD levels being 2.5 ± 0.9 and 2.3 ± 0.7 μM, respectively. Similar levels were recorded in serum and CSF samples from five other MS patients after 6 months of oral treatment with valacyclovir at identical dosages. The area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) for acyclovir in CSF to the AUC for acyclovir in serum (CSF/serum AUC ratio) was approximately 20%. We conclude that the improved bioavailability previously reported for valacyclovir in plasma results in higher concentrations in CSF, while the CSF/serum AUC ratio remains constant.
PMCID: PMC166099  PMID: 12878501
13.  Valacyclovir. New indication: for genital herpes, simpler administration. 
Canadian Family Physician  1999;45:1698-1705.
Valacyclovir, the metabolic precursor of acyclovir, is now approved for treatment and prevention of genital infection with herpes simplex viruses. The clinical file is bulky and methodologically sound. For treatment of a first episode of genital herpes, a large comparative trial has shown that valacyclovir (1 g twice a day) is as effective as acyclovir (200 mg five times a day) when given for 10 days. For treating recurrences, two trials show that valacyclovir is as effective as acyclovir (200 mg five times a day) with a treatment period of 5 days. A daily dose of 1 g of valacyclovir is as effective as 2 g daily. Valacyclovir can be administered once a day. For prevention among patients with frequent recurrences, the efficacy of valacyclovir (500 mg/d in a single dose) has been proven in a placebo-controlled trial lasting 4 months. In these trials, valacyclovir and acyclovir were both well tolerated, with no major differences between the two drugs.
PMCID: PMC2328354  PMID: 10424269
14.  Predictive factors for functional improvement after intravitreal bevacizumab therapy for macular edema due to branch retinal vein occlusion 
To identify predictive factors for improvement of visual acuity and central retinal thickness by intravitreal bevacizumab for the treatment of macular edema (ME) due to branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO).
Two hundred and five eyes from 204 patients with ME secondary to BRVO were retrospectively included at six sites. All eyes received intravitreal bevacizumab therapy (1.25 mg/0.05 ml). The mean follow-up was 36.8 ± 12.7 weeks (range, 18 to 54 weeks). Measurement of ETDRS best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA, in all eyes) and optical coherence tomography (OCT, in 87% of eyes) were performed at baseline and at follow-up examinations every 12 weeks. Using fluorescein angiography, the perfusion status of the macula at baseline could be assessed in 84% of the eyes. The main outcome measures were changes in BCVA and central retinal thickness (CRT). For analysis of predictive factors, the results at 24 weeks were used.
The median BCVA was 0.6 LogMAR at baseline and improved to 0.4 LogMAR at 24 and 48 weeks. This visual improvement was associated by a significant reduction in CRT, decreasing from a baseline of 454 μm to 267 μm and 248 μm after 24 and 48 weeks respectively. Eyes with ME and intact (perfused) or interrupted (ischemic) foveal capillary ring showed a 2-line increase of median BCVA [45 eyes (22%) and 128 eyes (62%) respectively]. However, the final median BCVA was significantly worse in eyes with ischemic ME (0.6 versus 0.3 logMAR in perfused ME). Other factors for visual improvement were absence of previous treatments of the ME, age younger than 60 years and low baseline BCVA (≥0.6 logMAR) (2, 3, and 2 median BCVA lines increase respectively). Furthermore, eyes with duration of the ME of less than 12 months responded with a 3-line increase of the median BCVA. Final CRT only showed minor differences between the subgroups. During the entire follow-up, retreatments were performed in 85% of the eyes, with a median number of injections of three (mean 3.2; range, 1 to 10) and a median time-interval between injections of 11.6 weeks (mean 14.6 weeks).
Intravitreal injection of bevacizumab resulted in a significant improvement of BCVA and reduction of ME in BRVO. Baseline BCVA, patient’s age, and duration of BRVO were found to be of prognostic relevance for visual improvement. A less favorable outcome of the bevacizumab therapy in eyes with longstanding BRVO would advocate initiation of treatment within 12 months after onset.
PMCID: PMC3042100  PMID: 21337042
Macular edema; Bevacizumab; Branch retinal vein occlusion; Intravitreal therapy; Predictive factors; Prognostic facotrs for visual improvement
15.  Necrotising retinopathies simulating acute retinal necrosis syndrome 
Aim: To determine an aetiological diagnosis in patients presenting with necrotising retinopathies that simulate acute retinal necrosis (ARN).
Methods: Retrospective non-comparative case series. The charts of 16 patients presenting with a clinical impression of ARN at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France, between 1994 and 1999, who required initial antiviral therapy were reviewed. All of the patients had extensive laboratory tests. Anterior chamber paracentesis was performed on 14 patients and evaluated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and/or the Witmer-Goldmann coefficient to determine the cause of retinitis. Three of the 14 cases also had diagnostic vitrectomy. Responses to specific treatment, initiated based on laboratory results, and the final outcome were evaluated.
Results: Seven of the 16 patients were female and nine were male. The retinitis was bilateral in five patients and unilateral in 11 patients. The average age of the patients at presentation was 53.6 years. 13 patients were immune deficient for various reasons. Upon initial presentation, the patients’ visual acuities were less than 20/200 in 68% of the affected eyes. The final diagnoses, based on laboratory data and therapeutic response were toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis (62.5%), syphilitic retinitis (12.5%), aspergillus endophthalmitis (12.5%), Behçet’s disease (6.2%), and intraocular lymphoma (6.2%). Visual acuity was stabilised or improved in 12 patients (75%). Two patients with aspergillosis died despite antifungal therapy.
Conclusions: Toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis is the major cause of retinal necrosis that simulates ARN, and PCR analysis of the aqueous humour is helpful in establishing the diagnosis. Such atypical toxoplasma retinochoroiditis may be associated with poor visual outcome.
PMCID: PMC1772458  PMID: 15615755
necrotising retinopathies; retinal necrosis syndrome; Behçet’s disease; syphilis; toxoplasmosis
16.  Management of varicella zoster virus retinitis in AIDS 
AIMS/BACKGROUND—Varicella zoster virus retinitis (VZVR) in patients with AIDS, also called progressive outer retinal necrosis (PORN), is a necrotising viral retinitis which has resulted in blindness in most patients. The purposes of this study were to investigate the clinical course and visual outcome, and to determine if the choice of a systemic antiviral therapy affected the final visual outcome in patients with VZVR and AIDS.
METHODS—A review of the clinical records of 20 patients with VZVR from six centres was performed. Analysis of the clinical characteristics at presentation was performed. Kruskall-Wallis non-parametric one way analysis of variance (KWAOV) of the final visual acuities of patients treated with acyclovir, ganciclovir, foscarnet, or a combination of foscarnet and ganciclovir was carried out.
RESULTS—Median follow up was 6 months (range 1.3-26 months). On presentation, 14 of 20 patients (70%) had bilateral disease, and 75% (15 of 20 patients) had previous or concurrent extraocular manifestations of VZV infection. Median initial and final visual acuities were 20/40 and hand movements, respectively. Of 39 eyes involved, 19 eyes (49%) were no light perception at last follow up; 27 eyes (69%) developed rhegmatogenous retinal detachments. Patients treated with combination ganciclovir and foscarnet therapy or ganciclovir alone had significantly better final visual acuity than those treated with either acyclovir or foscarnet (KWAOV: p = 0.0051).
CONCLUSIONS—This study represents the second largest series, the longest follow up, and the first analysis of visual outcomes based on medical therapy for AIDS patients with VZVR. Aggressive medical treatment with appropriate systemic antivirals may improve long term visual outcome in patients with VZVR. Acyclovir appears to be relatively ineffective in treating this disease.

PMCID: PMC1722141  PMID: 9135381
17.  Phase IB Study of Gene-Mediated Cytotoxic Immunotherapy Adjuvant to Up-Front Surgery and Intensive Timing Radiation for Malignant Glioma 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(27):3611-3619.
Despite aggressive therapies, median survival for malignant gliomas is less than 15 months. Patients with unmethylated O6-methylguanine–DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) fare worse, presumably because of temozolomide resistance. AdV-tk, an adenoviral vector containing the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene, plus prodrug synergizes with surgery and chemoradiotherapy, kills tumor cells, has not shown MGMT dependency, and elicits an antitumor vaccine effect.
Patients and Methods
Patients with newly diagnosed malignant glioma received AdV-tk at 3 × 1010, 1 × 1011, or 3 × 1011 vector particles (vp) via tumor bed injection at time of surgery followed by 14 days of valacyclovir. Radiation was initiated within 9 days after AdV-tk injection to overlap with AdV-tk activity. Temozolomide was administered after completing valacyclovir treatment.
Accrual began December 2005 and was completed in 13 months. Thirteen patients were enrolled and 12 completed therapy, three at dose levels 1 and 2 and six at dose level 3. There were no dose-limiting or significant added toxicities. One patient withdrew before completing prodrug because of an unrelated surgical complication. Survival at 2 years was 33% and at 3 years was 25%. Patient-reported quality of life assessed with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Brain (FACT-Br) was stable or improved after treatment. A significant CD3+ T-cell infiltrate was found in four of four tumors analyzed after treatment. Three patients with MGMT unmethylated glioblastoma multiforme survived 6.5, 8.7, and 46.4 months.
AdV-tk plus valacyclovir can be safely delivered with surgery and accelerated radiation in newly diagnosed malignant gliomas. Temozolomide did not prevent immune responses. Although not powered for efficacy, the survival and MGMT independence trends are encouraging. A phase II trial is ongoing.
PMCID: PMC3179270  PMID: 21844505
18.  Corticosteroid and antiviral therapy for Bell's palsy: A network meta-analysis 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:1.
Previous meta-analyses of treatments for Bell's palsy are still inconclusive due to different comparators, insufficient data, and lack of power. We therefore conducted a network meta-analysis combining direct and indirect comparisons for assessing efficacy of steroids and antiviral treatment (AVT) at 3 and 6 months.
We searched Medline and EMBASE until September 2010 using PubMed and Elsviere search engines. A network meta-analysis was performed to assess disease recovery using a mixed effects hierarchical model. Goodness of fit of the model was assessed, and the pooled odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated.
Six studies (total n = 1805)were eligible and contributed to the network meta-analysis. The pooled ORs for resolution at 3 months were 1.24 (95% CI: 0.79 - 1.94) for Acyclovir plus Prednisolone and 1.02 (95% CI: 0.73 - 1.42) for Valacyclovir plus Prednisolone, versus Prednisolone alone. Either Acyclovir or Valacyclovir singly had significantly lower efficacy than Prednisolone alone, i.e., ORs were 0·44 (95% CI: 0·28 - 0·68) and 0·60 (95% CI: 0·42 - 0·87), respectively. Neither of the antiviral agents was significantly different compared with placebo, with a pooled OR of 1·25 (95% CI: 0·78 - 1·98) for Acyclovir and 0·91 (95% CI: 0·63 - 1·31) for Valacyclovir. Overall, Prednisolone-based treatment increased the chance of recovery 2-fold (95% CI: 1·55 - 2·42) compared to non-Prednisolone-based treatment. To gain 1 extra recovery, 6 and 26 patients need to be treated with Acyclovir and prednisolone compared to placebo and prednisolone alone, respectively.
Our evidence suggests that the current practice of treating Bell's palsy with AVT plus corticosteroid may lead to slightly higher recovery rates compared to treating with prednisone alone but this does not quite reach statistical significance; prednisone remains the best evidence-based treatment.
PMCID: PMC3025847  PMID: 21208452
19.  Acute Retinal Necrosis after Boston Type I Keratoprosthesis 
A case report of a 68-year-old male who developed acute retinal necrosis (ARN) after Boston type I keratoprosthesis is presented. The procedure was performed for multiple graft failure secondary to herpetic keratitis. Clinical data including visual acuity, color fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, laboratory tests findings, and management are presented. After exclusion of other causes by laboratory workup, the patient was diagnosed with ARN most likely secondary to herpetic infection. Intravenous acyclovir and oral prednisolone were administered to the patient resulting in marked improvement in visual acuity and regression in the size of the retinitis. The patient eventually developed a soft eye and choroidal detachment with light perception vision. In patients with a history of herpetic keratitis or keratouveitis, it is highly advisable to maintain prophylactic systemic antiviral treatment before and after any ocular procedure such as the Boston keratoprosthesis.
PMCID: PMC3353680  PMID: 22623871
Acute Retinal Necrosis; Boston Type I Keratoprosthesis; Herpetic Keratitis; Visual Loss
20.  Prevention of Cytomegalovirus Disease in Recipients of Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplants 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2003;16(4):647-657.
The main risk factors for cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in recipients of allogeneic stem cell transplants (SCT) are recipient CMV seropositivity and acute graft-versus-host disease. Currently, two antiviral strategies, prophylactic or preemptive antiviral treatment, are used for prevention of CMV disease. Preemptive treatment is most favorable when short-term (14-day) treatment is applied. Several methods are available for monitoring of CMV reactivation. PCR-based CMV DNA detection assays are the most sensitive methods; however, the clinical benefit of this high sensitivity is unclear. Even more, there is lack of clarity whether PCR tests can better be performed with plasma, whole blood, or peripheral blood leukocyte samples. Recovery of a CMV-specific CD8+ cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte (CTL) response is necessary for preventing CMV reactivation and disease. Reconstitution of absolute CMV-specific CTL counts to values above 10 × 106 to 20 × 106 CTLs/liter is associated with protection from CMV disease. In the near future, preemptive therapy might be withheld in patients with CMV reactivation who are shown to have adequate CMV-specific cytotoxic T-cell levels. Antiviral therapy with (val)acyclovir has been studied only as prophylactic treatment for prevention of CMV infection. High-dose oral valacyclovir is more effective than acyclovir when used in addition to preemptive treatment of CMV reactivation with ganciclovir or foscarnet. Three antiviral drugs have been tested for preemptive therapy of CMV reactivation and/or treatment of CMV disease. Although intravenous ganciclovir is considered the drug of choice, foscarnet has similar efficacy and less toxicity, especially hematologic toxicity. Cidofovir has not been tested extensively, but so far the results are disappointing. Oral valganciclovir for preemptive treatment of SCT recipients is currently being studied. In addition to antiviral therapy, adoptive immunotherapy with CMV-specific cytotoxic T cells as prophylactic or preemptive therapy is a very elegant strategy; however, generation of these cells is expensive and time-consuming, and therefore the therapy is not available at every transplantation center. Magnetic selection of CMV-specific CD8+ T cells from peripheral blood by using HLA class I-peptide tetramers may be very promising, making this strategy more accessible.
PMCID: PMC207116  PMID: 14557291
21.  Effects of photodynamic therapy with verteporfin for the treatment of chronic central serous chorioretinopathy: An uncontrolled, open-label, observational study* 
Background: Central serous chorioretinopathy is an idiopathic disorder that leads to serous neurosensory retinal detachment. The disorder is usually self-limited and resolves spontaneously; however, sometimes neurosensory retinal detachment persists. This form of the disorder is called chronic central serous chorioretinopathy (CCSC).
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the effects of photodynamic therapy (PDT) on visual acuity with full-dose verteporfin for CCSC.
Methods: The eyes of patients with CCSC were included in the study. Ophthalmic examination including best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), fundus examination, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography was performed before treatment and at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. PDT with full-dose verteporfin (6 μ/m2 of body surface area) was applied only to areas of active leakage. BCVA was converted to a log of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) equivalent for statistical analysis. Central foveal thickness and BCVA between baseline and follow-up were compared.
Results: Seventeen eyes of 16 patients (13 males, 3 females; mean [SD] age, 39.75 [7.51] years; mean duration of follow-up, 13.06 [1.82] months) were used in the study. The mean (SEM) logMAR BCVA was 0.26 (0.07) at baseline and 0.04 (0.02) at 12 months. Mean logMAR BCVA values at baseline (0.259) and after treatment (0.112, 0.053, 0.047, 0.041, and 0.041 at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, respectively) differed significantly (P = 0.006, P = 0.005, P = 0.005, P = 0.005, and P = 0.005). There was a significant difference in the mean central foveal thickness at the final visit (169 μm) compared with the baseline value (383 μm; P < 0.001). BCVA decreased in one eye (20/20 vs 20/25) and persisted during follow-up; in the other 16 eyes, BCVA either increased (n = 10) or remained stable (n = 6).
Conclusions: In this small, open-label study, patients with CCSC treated with a single course of PDT with full-dose verteporfin had significant improvement from baseline in BCVA and resolution of subretinal fluid accumulation and active leakage. Treatment was generally well tolerated, but one patient had worsening in BCVA.
PMCID: PMC3967338  PMID: 24683263
central serous chorioretinopathy; photodynamic therapy; optical coherence tomography; verteporfin
22.  HSV suppression reduces seminal HIV-1 levels in HIV-1/HSV-2 coinfected men who have sex with men (MSM) 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(4):479-483.
Suppressive HSV therapy can decrease plasma, cervical, and rectal HIV-1 levels in HSV-2/HIV-1 co-infected persons. We evaluated the effect of HSV-2 suppression on seminal HIV-1 levels.
Twenty antiretroviral therapy (ART)–naive HIV-1/HSV-2–MSM in Lima, Peru, with CD4 cell counts >200 cells/µL randomly received valacyclovir 500 mg twice daily or placebo for 8 weeks, then the alternative regimen for 8 weeks after a 2 week washout. Peripheral blood and semen specimens were collected weekly. Anogenital swab specimens for HSV DNA were self-collected daily and during clinic visits.
HIV-1 RNA was quantified in seminal and blood plasma by TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR) or Roche Amplicor Monitor assays. HSV and seminal cytomegalovirus (CMV) were quantified by rt-PCR. Linear mixed models examined differences within subjects by treatment arm.
Median CD4 count of participants was 424 cells/µL. HIV-1 was detected in 71% of 231 semen specimens. HSV was detected from 29% and 4.4% of swabs on placebo and valacyclovir, respectively (P<0.001). Valacyclovir significantly reduced the proportion of days with detectable seminal HIV-1 (63% during valacyclovir vs. 78% during placebo, p=0.04). The quantity of HIV-1 in semen was 0.25 log10 copies/mL lower (95%CI −0.40 to −0.10, p=0.001) during the valacyclovir arm compared with placebo, a 44% reduction. CD4 count (p=0.32) and seminal cellular CMV quantity (p=0.68) did not predict seminal plasma HIV-1 level.
Suppressive valacyclovir reduced seminal HIV-1 levels in HIV-1/HSV-2 co-infected MSM not receiving ART. The significance of this finding will be evaluated in a trial with HIV-1 transmission as the outcome.
PMCID: PMC2707902  PMID: 19169140
seminal plasma; HIV-1; viral load; HSV-2; valacyclovir; herpes; blood plasma
23.  Time Profile of Viral DNA in Aqueous Humor Samples of Patients Treated for Varicella-Zoster Virus Acute Retinal Necrosis by Use of Quantitative Real-Time PCR 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(7):2160-2166.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the kinetics of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) loads using quantitative PCR (qPCR) in patients treated for acute retinal necrosis (ARN). Six patients (52 ± 13 years old) with ARN syndrome were consecutively studied. Aqueous humor (AH) was sampled from both eyes of all patients for qPCR evaluation. The patients were treated with intravenous acyclovir and intravitreal injections of antiviral drugs. The mean follow-up time was 17.6 ± 16.4 months. Main outcome measures were the numbers of viral genome copies in the AH, assessed using real-time qPCR with hydrolysis probe technology with a threshold of detection of 200 copies/ml. Two main portions of the viral load curves were observed for each patient: a plateau phase (27.8 ± 24.9 days) and a decrease in the number of viral genome copies. The mean baseline viral load was 3.4 × 107 ± 4.45 × 107 copies/ml (6 × 106 to 1.2 × 108 copies/ml). The viral load decreased according to a logarithmic model, with a 50% reduction obtained in 3 ± 0.7 days. There was a significant viral load (>102 copies/ml) at 50 days after the onset of treatment, despite antiviral drugs. qPCR use demonstrated reproducible VZV DNA kinetics with a two-phase evolution: a plateau followed by a logarithmic decrease. These data suggest that high-dosage antiviral therapy administered for the conventional 10-day duration is insufficient for most patients. This series of patients responded with a similar decrease in viral load once treatment was initiated, and the data from these patients may be used to predict the responses of future patients.
PMCID: PMC3697691  PMID: 23637296
24.  Safety enhanced photodynamic therapy with half dose verteporfin for chronic central serous chorioretinopathy: a short term pilot study 
To evaluate short term safety of an enhanced photodynamic therapy (PDT) protocol with half dose verteporfin for treating chronic central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC).
20 eyes of 18 patients with symptomatic chronic CSC underwent PDT using 3 mg/m2 verteporfin. Verteporfin was infused over 8 minutes followed by indocyanine green angiography guided laser application 2 minutes later. Serial optical coherence tomography (OCT) and multifocal electroretinography (mfERG) recordings were performed before PDT, at 4 days, 2 weeks, and 1 month after PDT. The best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), OCT central retinal thickness, and mean mfERG response amplitudes and peak latencies were compared longitudinally. Subgroup analysis was further performed for eyes with or without pigment epithelial detachment (PED).
At 1 month after PDT, the median BCVA improved from 20/40 to 20/30 (p = 0.001). The mean central retinal thickness also reduced from 276 μm to 158 μm (p<0.001) and 17 (85%) eyes had complete resolution of serous retinal detachment and/or PED. MfERG showed no significant changes in the mean N1 and P1 response amplitude and latency for all eyes. Subgroup analysis demonstrated that eyes without PED had a significant increase in the mean central mfERG P1 response amplitude with reduction in P1 peak latency at 1 month post‐PDT. For eyes with PED, transient reduction in the mean central P1 response amplitude was observed at 4 days post‐PDT.
The modified safety enhanced PDT protocol with half dose verteporfin appeared to be a beneficial treatment option for patients with chronic CSC, especially in eyes without serous PED. Further controlled study is warranted to demonstrate the long term safety and efficacy of this treatment option.
PMCID: PMC1857171  PMID: 16597666
central serous chorioretinopathy; photodynamic therapy; verteporfin; multifocal electroretinography; optical coherence tomography
25.  Single-day famciclovir for the treatment of genital herpes: follow-up results of time to next recurrence and assessment of antiviral resistance* 
Episodic therapy of genital herpes is usually recommended for patients with infrequent symptomatic recurrences and where transmission is not a concern. While shorter courses are as effective as standard 5-day regimens, it is unknown whether abbreviated therapy has detrimental effects on natural history and the development of antiviral resistance.
To assess time to next recurrence and development of antiviral resistance in patients with recurrent genital herpes treated with either single-day famciclovir (1 g twice-daily) or 3-day valacyclovir (500 mg twice-daily).
Longer-term, follow-up data on the time to next recurrence and antiviral sensitivity were collected from a previously reported multicenter, multinational, double-blind, parallel group study in which 1179 immunocompetent adults were randomized 1:1 to receive either single-day famciclovir or 3-day valacyclovir. Treatment was self-initiated within 6 hours of a recurrence. Swabs for viral culture and sensitivity testing were collected for two sequential recurrences.
The median time to next recurrence from treatment initiation was 33.5 days for famciclovir and 38.0 days for valacyclovir. No drug resistance to penciclovir, the active metabolite of famciclovir, was observed at baseline nor did any develop by the time of the next recurrence.
The study had no placebo arm, typing of viral isolates was not performed and viral resistance testing was restricted to penciclovir only.
Treatment with single-day famciclovir for recurrent genital herpes did not shorten the time to the next recurrence. Drug resistance to penciclovir continues to be a rare event in immunocompetent patients.
PMCID: PMC3773849  PMID: 19192993
Drug resistance; Famciclovir; Genital herpes; Single-day therapy; Time to next recurrence

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