preliminary results in vitro have indicated that carbenoxolone and analogues possessed activity against herpes viruses. We undertook a double blind clinical study to compare the efficacy of carbenoxolone and cicloxolone creams with placebo in initial and recurrent herpes genitalis. Seventy-nine patients (21 of whom were entered in the trial more than once) received 105 courses of treatment, 83 of which were suitable for life table analysis. There were significant differences in the time to disappearance of pain (p = 0.044) and the healing of lesions (p = 0.023) in favour of cicloxolone compared with placebo. Carbenoxolone showed some beneficial effect compared with placebo, but this was not significant. Results on day 5 were similar. The only adverse reaction was mild erythema with irritation in one patient in each treatment group. We conclude that further trials with more extensive virological investigation are indicated to confirm the beneficial effect of cicloxolone.
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