Herpes genitalis - Topical zinc sulfate: An alternative therapeutic and modality

Indian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS. 2013 Jan;34(1):32-4. doi: 10.4103/0253-7184.112867.


Background: Herpes genitalis is one of the commonest sexually transmitted infections in the world caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2. All herpes viruses show latency. Herpes genitalis caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2 is recurrent in 55 and 90% of case respectively.

Aims: To comparatively evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of topical zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) in varying concentrations in herpes genitalis.

Materials and methods: Ninety patients clinically diagnosed as herpes genitalis and confirmed by Tzanck test were taken up for study and divided into 3 groups of 30 patients each which were applied topical ZnSO4 in concentrations of 1%, 2% and 4% respectively for 3 months. Ten patients of herpes genitalis were kept as control in whom only distilled water was applied. Patients were followed up for a total period of 6 months for any recurrences.

Results: Ten patients of group 1 (1% ZnSO4) showed recurrence, 6 patients in group 2 (2% ZnSO4) and only one patient in group 3 (4% ZnSO4) showed recurrence. In the control group, 8 out of 10 patients showed recurrence. No serious side effects were seen in all 3 groups.

Conclusion: Topical ZnSO4 has been found to be an effective therapeutic modality not only for treatment but also for prolonging remissions in herpes genitalis. Topical 4% ZnSO4 has been found to be most efficacious out of the three concentrations, without any side effects.

Keywords: Herpes genitalis; new approach; zinc sulfate.