Acyclovir for treating varicella in otherwise healthy children and adolescents: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Background Acyclovir has the potential to shorten the course of chickenpox which may result in reduced costs and morbidity. We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials that evaluated acyclovir for the treatment of chickenpox in otherwise healthy children. Methods MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched. The reference lists of relevant articles were examined and primary authors and Glaxo Wellcome were contacted to identify additional trials. Two reviewers independently screened studies for inclusion, assessed study quality using the Jadad scale and allocation concealment, and extracted data. Continuous data were converted to a weighted mean difference (WMD). Overall estimates were not calculated due to differences in the age groups studied. Results Three studies were included. Methodological quality was 3 (n = 2) and 4 (n = 1) on the Jadad scale. Acyclovir was associated with a significant reduction in the number of days with fever, from -1.0 (95% CI -1.5,-0.5) to -1.3 (95% CI -2.0,-0.6). Results were inconsistent with respect to the number of days to no new lesions, the maximum number of lesions and relief of pruritis. There were no clinically important differences between acyclovir and placebo with respect to complications or adverse effects. Conclusion Acyclovir appears to be effective in reducing the number of days with fever among otherwise healthy children with chickenpox. The results were inconsistent with respect to the number of days to no new lesions, the maximum number of lesions and the relief of itchiness. The clinical importance of acyclovir treatment in otherwise healthy children remains controversial.

  • Date created
    2002
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3PK07324
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Klassen, T. P., Belseck, E. M., Wiebe, N., & Hartling, L. (2002). Acyclovir for treating varicella in otherwise healthy children and adolescents: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMC Pediatrics, 2, 9. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-2-9.