Comparison of Acyclovir and Famciclovir for Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

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Abstract

Objective:

Although antiviral agents are widely used to treat Ramsay hunt syndrome (RHS), their relative effectiveness has not been assessed. This study retrospectively compared clinical outcomes in patients with RHS treated with the antiviral agents acyclovir and famciclovir.

Patients and Methods:

This study involved 227 patients diagnosed with RHS from 2003 to 2015. Patients were treated with prednisolone plus acyclovir (n = 102) or famciclovir (n = 125). Patient outcomes were measured using the House–Brackmann scale according to age, initial severity of disease, electroneurography, and underlying disease.

Results:

Based on complications (p = 0.019) and disease severity (p = 0.013), the overall complete recovery rate was significantly higher with famciclovir than with acyclovir, whereas rates of recovery in patients with severe (p = 0.111) and initially moderate (grades III–IV; p = 0.070) facial palsy were similar. Electroneurography also showed no difference in remission rate between the two groups (p = 0.692). Complete recovery rates in patients with hypertension and/or diabetes mellitus were similar in the two groups. However, the complete recovery rate of patients without hypertension and diabetes was significantly higher in patients treated with famciclovir than acyclovir (p = 0.018).

Conclusion:

Recovery rates in patients with RHS were higher following treatment with steroid plus famciclovir than with steroid plus acyclovir, especially in patients without hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

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