Acyclovir and retinal necrosis

August 20, 2008

Acyclovir is an anti-viral drug typically used to treat chickenpox and different types of herpes. Journal of French Ophthalmology reported on a study done at the Pitie Salpetiere Hospital in Paris in which intraocular specimens from 33 patients admitted with acute retinal necrosis or progressive outer retinal necrosis were discussed to determine the viral cause. Sophisticated techniques found viruses and detected herpes virus in 80.5% of the patients. In the acute retinal necrosis group, they found herpes in 34.4%, varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox) in 28.1%, cytomegalovirus in 12.5%, and Epstein-Barr virus in 3.1%. In the progressive outer retinal necrosis group, all had the chickenpox virus. All patients had been treated with antiviral drugs, including two with intravenous acyclovir, and 10 with an intravenous combination of acyclovir and foscarnet. Vision was improved by intensive antiviral therapy.

European Journal of Ophthalmology reported on a person with progressive outer retinal necrosis also treated with a combination of antiviral drugs, in his case intravenous acyclovir, three injections of foscarnet directly into the vitreous of the eye, and a ganciclovir implant in the right eye. The improvements were dramatic within two weeks and continued at three months’ follow-up.


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