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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Interventions for men and women with their first episode of genital herpes

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2016
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (81st percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

Mentioned by

1 policy source
5 tweeters
1 Facebook page
2 Wikipedia pages


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174 Mendeley
Interventions for men and women with their first episode of genital herpes
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010684.pub2
Pubmed ID

Rachel Heslop, Helen Roberts, Deralie Flower, Vanessa Jordan


Genital herpes is incurable, and is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). First-episode genital herpes is the first clinical presentation of herpes that a person experiences. Current treatment is based around viral suppression in order to decrease the length and severity of the episode. To determine the effectiveness and safety of the different existing treatments for first-episode genital herpes on the duration of symptoms and time to recurrence. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (from inception to April 2016), MEDLINE (from inception to April 2016), the Specialised Register of the Cochrane Sexually Transmitted Infections Review Group (from inception to April 2016), EMBASE (from inception to April 2016), PsycINFO (from inception to April 2016), CINAHL (from inception to April 2016), LILACS (from inception to April 2016), AMED (from inception to April 2016), and the Alternative Medicines Specialised Register (from inception to April 2016). We handsearched a number of relevant journals, searched reference lists of all included studies, databases of ongoing trials, and other Internet databases. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on participants with first-episode genital herpes. We excluded vaccination trials, and trials in which the primary objective assessed a complication of HSV infection. All studies written in English were independently assessed by at least two review authors for inclusion, risk of bias for each trial, and to extract data. Studies requiring translation were assessed for inclusion, trial quality, and data extraction by external translators. We included 26 trials with 2084 participants analysed. Most of the studies were conducted in the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US), and involved men and women experiencing their first episode of genital herpes, with the exception of three studies which included only women. We rated the majority of these studies as having an unclear risk of bias; largely due to lack of information supplied in the publications, and due to the age of the trials. This review found low quality evidence from two studies of oral acyclovir, when compared to placebo, reduced the duration of symptoms in individuals undergoing their first episode of genital herpes (mean difference (MD) -3.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) -5.91 to -0.54; I(2) = 52%). In two studies (112 participants), intravenous acyclovir decreased the median number of days that patients with first-episode herpes suffered symptoms. Oral valaciclovir (converted to acyclovir) also showed a similar length of symptom duration when compared to acyclovir in two studies.There is currently no evidence that topical acyclovir reduces symptoms (MD -0.61 days, 95% CI -2.16 to 0.95; 3 RCTs, 195 participants, I(2) statistic = 56%). There is also no current evidence that the topical treatments of cicloxolone cream, carbenoxolone sodium cream, adenosine arabinoside, idoxuridine in dimethyl sulfoxide, when compared to placebo reduced the duration of symptoms in people undergoing their first episode of herpes.Two studies reported no evidence of a reduction in the number of median days to recurrence following treatment with oral acyclovir versus placebo. Adverse events were generally poorly reported by all of the included studies and we were unable to quantitatively analyse this outcome. For those taking acyclovir, there were no serious adverse events; the most common adverse events reported for oral acyclovir were coryza, dizziness, tiredness, diarrhoea and renal colic. For intravenous acyclovir these were phlebitis, nausea and abnormal liver function tests and for topical acyclovir there was pain with the topical application.Those undergoing interferon treatment had significantly more adverse events compared to those taking placebo. There is low quality evidence from this review that oral acyclovir reduced the duration of symptoms for genital herpes. However, there is low quality evidence which did not show that topical antivirals reduced symptom duration for patients undergoing their first episode of genital herpes. This review was limited by the inclusion of skewed data, resulting in few trials that we were able to meta-analyse.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 5 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 174 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 1 <1%
Unknown 173 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 33 19%
Student > Bachelor 23 13%
Student > Ph. D. Student 22 13%
Researcher 20 11%
Other 13 7%
Other 24 14%
Unknown 39 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 64 37%
Nursing and Health Professions 25 14%
Psychology 8 5%
Social Sciences 7 4%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 5 3%
Other 19 11%
Unknown 46 26%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 9. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 07 November 2022.
All research outputs
of 22,474,238 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,252 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 287,086 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 172 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,474,238 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 84th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,252 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.1. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 51% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 287,086 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 81% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 172 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 46th percentile – i.e., 46% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.