Treatment of Resistant Herpes Simplex Virus With Continuous-Infusion Acyclovir

Jeffrey P. Engel, Janet A. Englund, Courtney V. Fletcher, Edgar L. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Two patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome who developed severe ulcerative proctitis caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 that was resistant to acyclovir were successfully treated with 6 weeks of high-dose, continuousinfusion acyclovir sodium (1.5 to 2.0 mg/kg per hour). Viruses cultured from the lesions were resistant to acyclovir in vitro after the patients had received prolonged therapy with oral and intravenous acyclovir in traditional divided doses. Investigation into the mechanism of the acyclovir resistance revealed changes in the thymidine-kinase activity of both isolates. This viral enzyme phosphorylates acyclovir and is necessary for drug activation. The first patient’s isolate was deficient of all thymidine-kinase activity, while the second patient’s isolate had a thymidine kinase with altered substrate specificity for acyclovir. The continuous infusion was safe, well tolerated, and done in an outpatient setting with weekly clinic visits and monitoring of creatinine and acyclovir levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1662-1664
Number of pages3
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 23 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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