Patients' preference of valacyclovir once-daily suppressive therapy versus twice-daily episodic therapy for recurrent genital herpes: a randomized study

Sex Transm Dis. 2003 Mar;30(3):226-31. doi: 10.1097/00007435-200303000-00010.


Background: Valacyclovir is effective for suppressive and episodic treatment of recurrent genital herpes. Few data on patients' treatment strategy preferences are available.

Goal: The goal was to assess patients' preference, satisfaction, and quality of life with suppressive versus episodic treatment of recurrent genital herpes.

Study design: This was a multicenter, open-label, randomized, two-arm, crossover 48-week study involving 225 patients with genital herpes.

Results: Suppressive valacyclovir therapy was preferred to episodic valacyclovir treatment by 72% of patients (P < 0.001). Overall treatment satisfaction and quality of life were significantly greater during suppressive therapy (P < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively). The risk of recurrence during the first 24 weeks was reduced by 78% with suppressive therapy (P < 0.001). Significantly fewer patients experienced recurrences during suppressive treatment than with episodic treatment (P < 0.001). Valacyclovir was well tolerated.

Conclusions: Suppressive valacyclovir was preferred to episodic therapy by most patients. Suppressive therapy was associated with increased treatment satisfaction, and decreased risk and lower frequency of recurrences.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / administration & dosage*
  • Acyclovir / analogs & derivatives*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Canada
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / drug therapy*
  • Herpes Genitalis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Valacyclovir
  • Valine / administration & dosage*
  • Valine / analogs & derivatives*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Valine
  • Valacyclovir
  • Acyclovir