Mayo Clinic has found that for patients with eye shingles, oral antiviral drugs are critical to prevent long-term consequences in the eye. Untreated, 10 percent of eye shingles patients experience a serious long-term outcome, such as severe visual loss, eyelid scarring or chronic in-turning of the eyelashes; if treated, two percent of patients experience these effects. The Mayo Clinic study refutes the findings of a previous British study of oral antivirals in patients with eye shingles.
"This is the first time its been documented that within the eye, the chance of something really bad happening is greatly reduced by administering oral antivirals," says Keith Baratz, M.D., Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist and author of the manuscript, "Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus in Olmsted County, Minnesota: Have Systemic Antivirals Made a Difference?" to be published in the March issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, http://archopht.ama-assn.org.
This study, based on data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, http://www.mayo.edu/research/mir/topic_1029.html, is the first long-term follow-up study and the second largest study of this medication with patients diagnosed with herpes zoster opthalmicus. The largest study completed of oral antivirals for this disease to date, by Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, found that oral antivirals did not significantly affect long-term outcome; the study was not well controlled, however, according to the Mayo Clinic researchers. Oral antiviral treatment has been controversial due to the Moorfields study as well as the cost of the medicine, which can cost several hundred dollars for a course of treatment, or approximately $13 to $22 per day.
Lisa Copeland | EurekAlert!
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