Acute Herpes zoster in Tayside: demographic and treatment details in immunocompetent patients 1989-1992

J Infect. 1998 Mar;36(2):209-14. doi: 10.1016/s0163-4453(98)80015-7.


Medical records of 105 patients admitted to Tayside hospitals with acute Herpes zoster without underlying immunosuppression were examined retrospectively for the period 1984-1992. In this elderly population (median age: 79 years) there was a female preponderance (70.5%), most admissions were for trigeminal zoster (49.5%) and length of stay ranged from 1-70 days (median: 11 days), indicating significant morbidity. There was a wide variation in both pre-admission and inpatient treatment; 53.3% of patients did not receive any anti-viral therapy prior to admission, and prescribing patterns for in-patients revealed marked differences, according to the dermatome affected. Idoxuridine 5% solution was prescribed by 15.24% of General Practitioners. Given the significant morbidity and associated costs of Herpes zoster, and that existing anti-viral agents exert maximal benefit when administered early in the course of the disease, recommendations are made with respect to appropriate therapy, and auditing current management of this serious illness, which is expected to increase in prevalence as the population ages.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / administration & dosage
  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Herpes Zoster / drug therapy*
  • Herpes Zoster / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Idoxuridine / therapeutic use
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scotland / epidemiology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Idoxuridine
  • Acyclovir