Acyclovir (Zovirax; Wellcome) is now widely prescribed for the treatment of herpes infections. In 1984 we hailed acyclovir as an important advance for the “early treatment of primary skin and ocular herpes simplex infections and for varicella-zoster infections requiring systemic treatment”, but warned against using it “indiscriminately in view of the cost, the lack of data on toxicity and the increasing number of acyclovir-resistant herpes viruses being reported.”1 In this article we appraise the place of acyclovir in general practice and so for the treatment of patients likely to be immunocompetent and without severe systemic infection.
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