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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Valacyclovir versus acyclovir for the treatment of herpes zoster ophthalmicus in immunocompetent patients

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, November 2016
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Valacyclovir versus acyclovir for the treatment of herpes zoster ophthalmicus in immunocompetent patients
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, November 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011503.pub2
Pubmed ID

Alexander K Schuster, Björn C Harder, Frank C Schlichtenbrede, Marc N Jarczok, Jonas Tesarz


Herpes zoster ophthalmicus affects the eye and vision, and is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus in the distribution of the first division of the trigeminal nerve. An aggressive management of acute herpes zoster ophthalmicus with systemic antiviral medication is generally recommended as the standard first-line treatment for herpes zoster ophthalmicus infections. Both acyclovir and its prodrug valacyclovir are medications that are approved for the systemic treatment of herpes zoster. Although it is known that valacyclovir has an improved bioavailability and steadier plasma concentration, it is currently unclear as to whether this leads to better treatment results and less ocular complications. To assess the effects of valacyclovir versus acyclovir for the systemic antiviral treatment of herpes zoster ophthalmicus in immunocompetent patients. We searched CENTRAL (which contains the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Trials Register; 2016, Issue 5), Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid MEDLINE Daily, Ovid OLDMEDLINE (January 1946 to June 2016), Embase (January 1980 to June 2016), Web of Science Conference Proceedings Citation Index-Science (CPCI-S; January 1990 to June 2016), BIOSIS Previews (January 1969 to June 2016), the ISRCTN registry (www.isrctn.com/editAdvancedSearch), ClinicalTrials.gov (www.clinicaltrials.gov), and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP; www.who.int/ictrp/search/en). We did not use any date or language restrictions in the electronic searches for trials. We last searched the electronic databases on 13 June 2016. We considered all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in which systemic valacyclovir was compared to systemic acyclovir medication for treatment of herpes zoster ophthalmicus. There were no language restrictions. Two review authors independently selected trials, evaluated the risk of bias in included trials, and extracted and analysed data. We did not conduct a meta-analysis, as only one study was included. We assessed the certainty of the evidence for the selected outcomes using the GRADE approach. One study fulfilled the inclusion criteria. In this multicentre, randomised double-masked study carried out in France, 110 immunocompetent people with herpes zoster ophthalmicus, diagnosed within 72 hours of skin eruption, were treated, with 56 participants allocated to the valacyclovir group and 54 to the acyclovir group. The study was poorly reported and we judged it to be unclear risk of bias for most domains.Persistent ocular lesions after 6 months were observed in 2/56 people in the valacyclovir group compared with 1/54 people in the acyclovir group (risk ratio (RR) 1.93 (95% CI 0.18 to 20.65); very low certainty evidence. Dendritic ulcer appeared in 3/56 patients treated with valacyclovir, while 1/54 suffered in the acyclovir group (RR 2.89; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.31 to 26.96); very low certainty evidence), uveitis in 7/56 people in the valacyclovir group compared with 9/54 in the acyclovir group (RR 0.96; 95% CI 0.36 to 2.57); very low certainty evidence). Similarly, there was uncertainty as to the comparative effects of these two treatments on post-herpetic pain, and side effects (vomiting, eyelid or facial edema, disseminated zoster). Due to concerns about imprecision (small number of events and large confidence intervals) and study limitations, the certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach was rated as low to very low for the use of valacyclovir compared to acyclovir. This review included data from only one study, which had methodological limitations. As such, our results indicated uncertainty of the relative benefits and harms of valacyclovir over acyclovir in herpes zoster ophthalmicus, despite its widespread use for this condition. Further well-designed and adequately powered trials are needed. These trials should include outcomes important to patients, including compliance.

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 134 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 134 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 19 14%
Student > Master 14 10%
Researcher 10 7%
Student > Postgraduate 10 7%
Student > Doctoral Student 8 6%
Other 20 15%
Unknown 53 40%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 40 30%
Nursing and Health Professions 10 7%
Psychology 7 5%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 5 4%
Social Sciences 4 3%
Other 11 8%
Unknown 57 43%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 5. 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 17 November 2022.
All research outputs
of 26,181,776 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 13,190 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 315,829 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 261 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 26,181,776 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 71st percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 13,190 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 35.5. This one is in the 33rd percentile – i.e., 33% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
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 315,829 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 68% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 261 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 31st percentile – i.e., 31% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.