A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Efficacy of Oral Acyclovir in the Treatment of Pityriasis Rosea

J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 May;8(5):YC01-4. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2014/8140.4360. Epub 2014 May 15.


Background: Pityriasis rosea is an acute self-limiting skin disorder of unknown aetiology. Recently human herpes virus 6 and 7 has been hypothesized to be the cause of pityriasis rosea.

Objective: To determine the efficacy of acyclovir, an anti-viral drug, in the treatment of pityriasis rosea.

Materials and methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of efficacy of oral acyclovir in the treatment of pityriasis rosea was conducted on 73 patients. Thirty eight randomly selected patients were started on oral acyclovir. Thirty-five patients were prescribed placebo. The patients as well as the chief investigator were unaware of the therapeutic group to which patients belonged (acyclovir or placebo). Patients in both the groups were evaluated clinically after 7 and 14 days following the first visit and the data were analysed.

Results: Follow up data of 60 patients was available and these were included in the statistical analysis. 53.33% and 86.66% of the patients belonging to the acyclovir group showed complete resolution on the 7(th) day and 14(th) day respectively following the first visit compared to 10% and 33.33% of patients from the placebo group. The findings were statistically significant.

Conclusion: The study showed that high dose acyclovir is effective in the treatment of pityriasis rosea.

Keywords: Acyclovir; Human herpes virus 6; Human herpes virus 7; Papulosquamous; Pityriasis rosea.