Magazine article Drug Topics

SmithKline Beecham to Market Antiviral

Magazine article Drug Topics

SmithKline Beecham to Market Antiviral

Article excerpt

Famvir (famciclovir), an antiviral agent from SmithKline Beecham, has been granted Food & Drug Administration approval for the treatment of shingles. Placebo-controlled clinical trials showed that, when given within 72 hours of rash onset, famciclovir significantly reduced the time to healing of shingles lesions. The incidence of side effects was similar to placebo and included diarrhea, nausea, and headache. In patients over 50 years of age, the duration of postherpatic neuralgia, a painful sequelae to shingles that persists after the lesions have healed, was reduced from 163 days in placebo-treated patients to 63 days in those treated with famciclovir.

A comparative study with acyclovir (Zovirax, Burroughs Wellcome), the only other agent approved for treating shingles, determined that the agents were comparable in terms of efficacy. Famciclovir, however, requires less frequent dosing, an attribute that may improve compliance. The approved dosage regimen is 500 mg t.i.d. for seven days.

Caused by the virus herpes zoster, shingles is characterized by blister-like skin sores that are painful and itchy. …

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