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Patients’ Preference of Valacyclovir Once-Daily Suppressive Therapy Versus Twice-Daily Episodic Therapy for Recurrent Genital Herpes: A Randomized Study


Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2003 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 226-231

Background Valacyclovir is effective for suppressive and episodic treatment of recurrent genital herpes. Few data on patients’ treatment strategy preferences are available.

Goal The goal was to assess patients’ preference, satisfaction, and quality of life with suppressive versus episodic treatment of recurrent genital herpes.

Study Design This was a multicenter, open-label, randomized, two-arm, crossover 48-week study involving 225 patients with genital herpes.

Results Suppressive valacyclovir therapy was preferred to episodic valacyclovir treatment by 72% of patients (P < 0.001). Overall treatment satisfaction and quality of life were significantly greater during suppressive therapy (P < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively). The risk of recurrence during the first 24 weeks was reduced by 78% with suppressive therapy (P < 0.001). Significantly fewer patients experienced recurrences during suppressive treatment than with episodic treatment (P < 0.001). Valacyclovir was well tolerated.

Conclusions Suppressive valacyclovir was preferred to episodic therapy by most patients. Suppressive therapy was associated with increased treatment satisfaction, and decreased risk and lower frequency of recurrences.

A study of patients with genital herpes showed that suppressive valacyclovir was preferred to episodic therapy. Suppressive therapy was associated with increased treatment satisfaction and decreased risk and frequency of recurrences.

From the *University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta; and GlaxoSmithKline, Inc., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

The investigators wish to acknowledge the contribution of the study coordinators at each site to the successful completion of this study.

Members of the Valtrex HS230017 Study Group: Dr. Fred Aoki, Dr. G. W. Hammond, Dr. P. H. Orr, Dr. J. N. Simonsen, and Marlene Dott, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Dr. Celine Bouchard, Susie Savard, and Anne Bastien, Clinique R.S.F., Québec City, Québec; Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma, Susan Blakeney, and Sheila Ledoux, Herridge Health Clinic, Ottawa, Ontario; Dr. Wayne P. Gulliver and Sharon Holland, St. John's, Newfoundland; Dr. David Haase, Pat Hazell, and Karen Clarke, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Dr. Michael A. John, Dr. T. W. Austin, and Ruth Petersen, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario; Dr. Michael Lassonde and Audray Branconnier, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec; Dr. Eric Lefebvre, Martine Dery, and Luc Gagnon, Clinique L'Actuel, Montréal, Québec; Dr. Charles Lynde, Markham, Ontario; Dr. Kim Papp and Ted Trafford, Probity Medical Research, Inc., Waterloo, Ontario; Dr. Barbara Romanowski and Patricia Campbell, Edmonton, Alberta; Dr. Claude St. Pierre and Josée Soucy, Novabyss Inc., Sherbrooke, Québec; Dr. Daniel Shu, Barbara Trainor and Maxine Shu, Gain Medical Centre, Coquittam, British Colombia; Dr. Jerry Tan and Jane Coulter, Windsor, Ontario; Dr. Sylvie Trottier and Lyne Lapointe, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval, Ste-Foy, Québec; Dr. Kurt Williams and Barbara Peters, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Zara Grant and Raymond Marina, GlaxoSmithKline, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

This research was supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline, Inc., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Reprint requests: Barbara Romanowski, MD, Suite 1000, 8215 112 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2C8. E-mail:

Received May 29, 2002,

revised August 15, 2002, and accepted August 22, 2002.

© Copyright 2003 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association