Which antiviral agents are used for the treatment of herpes simplex virus (HSV) in neonates?

Updated: Feb 27, 2019
  • Author: J Michael Klatte, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Specific medical therapy for pediatric HSV infection involves antiviral medications. For neonates born either vaginally or by Caesarian section to infected mothers, determination of primary vs reactivation disease in the mother is necessary to guide duration of therapy. Antiviral agents used include the following:

  • Oral acyclovir (most common)

  • Oral famciclovir (a prodrug that is converted to penciclovir)

  • Oral valacyclovir (a prodrug that is converted to acyclovir)

  • IV acyclovir (for encephalitis, neonatal disease, severe infection in immunocompromised patients, occasional cases of severe orolabial or genital disease, [11, 12, 13, 14] , and recurrent genital HSV infections)

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