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Trifluridine, cidofovir, and penciclovir in the treatment of experimental herpetic keratitis.

Author(s): Kaufman HE, Varnell ED, Thompson HW

Affiliation(s): LSU Eye Center, Louisiana State University Medical Center School of Medicine, New Orleans 70112-2234, USA.

Publication date & source: 1998-06, Arch Ophthalmol., 116(6):777-80.

OBJECTIVE: To compare trifluridine eyedrops, cidofovir eyedrops, and penciclovir ophthalmic ointment for the treatment of herpes simplex virus type 1 keratitis. METHODS: New Zealand white rabbits were infected with the McKrae strain of herpes simplex virus type 1. Three days after viral inoculation, the rabbits were randomly assigned to treatment with 1% trifluridine, 0.2% cidofovir, 3% penciclovir ointment, or phosphate-buffered saline (for control) on various schedules. The severity of keratitis was graded in a masked manner. RESULTS: Treatment with any of the antiviral drugs resulted in significantly less severe keratitis than treatment with phosphate-buffered saline. There was no statistically significant difference between eyes given trifluridine 2, 4, or 7 times a day and eyes given cidofovir 2 times a day (P=.06, P=.43, and P=.19, respectively, using the F test of the analysis of variance). Cidofovir given twice a day was significantly more effective than penciclovir given either 2 or 4 times a day (P<.001 and P=.002, respectively). Even with once-a-day dosage, all 3 drugs were significantly more effective than phosphate-buffered saline (P<.001 for all). There was no significant difference between once-a-day trifluridine and cidofovir treatments (P=.17). Trifluridine administered 5 times a day was as effective as 1% cidofovir. A similar degree of punctate keratitis was seen after 4 to 5 days in eyes treated with trifluridine at the highest frequency, 1% cidofovir, or penciclovir ointment. CONCLUSION: Trifluridine treatment was highly effective in this rabbit model, even when given only once a day. Treatment with cidofovir was as effective as that with trifluridine. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Cidofovir and penciclovir treatments may prove to be effective against epithelial keratitis. Clinical trials of trifluridine, cidofovir, and penciclovir with lower treatment frequencies appear to be warranted.

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