Acyclovir Prophylaxis Predisposes to Antiviral-Resistant Recurrent Herpetic Keratitis

Monique Velzen, David van de Vijver, Freek Loenen, Ab Osterhaus, Lies Remeijer, Georges Verjans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. Long-term acyclovir (ACV) prophylaxis, recommended to prevent recurrent herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) ocular disorders, may pose a risk for ACV-refractory disease due to ACV resistance. We determined the effect of ACV prophylaxis on the prevalence of corneal ACV-resistant (ACV(R)) HSV-1 and clinical consequences thereof in patients with recurrent HSV-1 keratitis (rHK). Methods. Frequencies of ACV(R) viruses were determined in 169 corneal HSV-1 isolates from 78 rHK patients with a history of stromal disease. The isolates' ACV susceptibility profiles were correlated with clinical parameters to identify risk factors predisposing to ACV(R) rHK. Results. Corneal HSV-1 isolates with >28% ACV(R) viruses were defined as ACV(R) isolates. Forty-four isolates (26%) were ACV-resistant. Multivariate analyses identified long-term ACV prophylaxis (>= 12 months) (odds ratio [OR] 3.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32-8.87) and recurrence duration of >= 45 days (OR 2.23; 95% CI, 1.02-4.87), indicative of ACV-refractory disease, as independent risk factors for ACV(R) isolates. Moreover, a corneal ACV(R) isolate was a risk factor for ACV-refractory Conclusions. The data suggest that long-term ACV prophylaxis predisposes to ACV-refractory disease due to the emergence of corneal ACV(R) HSV-1. ACV-susceptibility testing is warranted during follow-up of rHK patients.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1359-1365
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Research programs

  • EMC MM-04-27-01

Cite this