Umberto Tirelli, MD
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Tirelli U. Effects of Famciclovir in Acute Herpes Zoster. Ann Intern Med. 1996;124:775. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-124-8-199604150-00013
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1996;124(8):775.
TO THE EDITOR:
Tyring and colleagues' study of famciclovir in patients with acute herpes zoster  was placebo-controlled. I believe it is unethical to give placebo to such patients when a safe and effective drug such as acyclovir is available. Although one of the study's exclusion criterion was complications of herpes zoster, such as ocular or visceral involvement or disseminated herpes zoster, I question whether ethical committees consistently and properly evaluate studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the authors did not state the start and end dates of the study. Although the authors stated in the Results section that “no benefit was seen for patients younger than 50 years” for famciclovir compared with placebo for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia, they did not stress this important aspect in the Discussion section.
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