[Enzyme therapy--an alternative in treatment of herpes zoster. A controlled study of 192 patients]

Fortschr Med. 1995 Feb 10;113(4):43-8.
[Article in German]


Problem: Herpes Zoster requires an effective, inexpensive form of treatment not only because it impairs quality of life, but also on account of its relatively high incidence and the resulting costs incurred. Given the present situation in the health care sector, the high costs of treatment with the standard drug, acyclovir, often mean that herpes zoster patients do not receive medicinal therapy.

Aim: The aim of the present study was to establish whether the positive results of a prior investigation involving treatment with an enzyme combination preparation could be confirmed.

Method: Over a period of 14 days, two groups of 96 patients each were given acyclovir or an enzyme combination preparation. During the course of the study, the intensity (score) of segmental pain and various skin lesions were investigated.

Results: In terms of the first end point, "segmental pain", the test groups showed no significant difference either on day 7 or on day 14. Although the second end point "segmental reddening" did reveal a significant difference (p = 0.015) in favor of the acyclovir group on day 14, no significant difference was found for any of the other examination endpoints. Nor did any of the other skin lesions evaluated differ significantly by the end of the study.

Conclusions: Overall, the enzyme combination preparation showed identical efficacy with acyclovir. The results of the prior study were thus confirmed. Further investigations on the immunomodulatory potency, dosage and effects on postherpetic herpes neuralgia are, however, still required.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chymotrypsin*
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Herpes Zoster / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pancreatic Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Papain / therapeutic use*
  • Thymus Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Trypsin*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Pancreatic Extracts
  • Thymus Extracts
  • chymotrypsin, papain, trypsin drug combination
  • Chymotrypsin
  • Trypsin
  • Papain
  • Acyclovir