Intramuscular recombinant alpha interferon (rIFN-2A; 9 million IU given for 5 days during a 9-day treatment period) was compared with topical acyclovir in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for the treatment of first-episode genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection and for subsequent alteration of the frequency of recurrences. rIFN-2A (within 96 h of onset of the first episode) was not superior to topical acyclovir in a well-matched group of 105 patients. The early use of rIFN-2A also did not alter the frequency or severity of genital HSV recurrences within either the first or second 6 months following therapy. Separate analyses by HSV type and by type of infection (primary versus nonprimary) did not change this conclusion. Furthermore, there was significant toxicity associated with rIFN-2A therapy. rIFN-2A is not indicated for the treatment of genital HSV infections
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