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    Gauging ganciclovir gel for herpes virus

    Treatment has several clinical applications, but some research questions remain


    Dr. Hammersmith discussed a 2005 prospective study from Tabbara2 with six patients, half of whom were post-PK. Ganciclovir 0.15% was used twice a day for a year. There were no recurrences in the group with prophylaxis; the recurrence rate was 30% in the untreated group.Corneal toxicity from topical vidarabine use in topical treatment of herpes viruses. (Image courtesy of Kristin Hammersmith, MD)

    “It may be helpful in prophylaxis with or without PK,” she said. “This is small evidence, but it’s interesting.”

    Recent: Ocular surface unfriendly to pathogenic bacteria

    There is also small but growing evidence about the use of ganciclovir to treat other types of herpes and adenovirus. Ganciclovir gel may be helpful to treat pseudodendrites associated with varicella zoster keratitis. And there is limited positive evidence for its use in treating adenovirus, a common problem with few treatment options.

    Related: Addressing challenges of Acanthamoeba keratitis

    The clinical application of ganciclovir gel still is ripe for investigation.

    “There are lots of areas of opportunity for research to enhance our understanding of utility in other applications,” Dr. Hammersmith said.

    More: Differentiating among mosquito-borne forms of uveitis


    1. Wilhelmus KR. Antiviral treatment and other therapeutic interventions for herpes simplex virus epithelial keratitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;9;1:CD002898.

    2. Tabbara KF. Treatment of herpetic keratitis. Ophthalmology. 2005;112:1640.


    Kristin Hammersmith, MD

    E: [email protected]

    This article was adapted from Dr. Hammersmith’s presentation during Cornea Subspecialty Day at the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Hammersmith has no financial interests related to her comments. Her presentation addresses some off-label uses of ganciclovir gel.

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