Sixty patients with simple dendritic corneal ulceration were randomly assigned to double blind treatment with either acyclovir tablets (400 mg) or acyclovir ophthalmic ointment administered five times daily. There was no significant difference in the proportions of patients healed in either treatment group (88.9% on oral acyclovir and 96.6% on acyclovir ointment). The median healing time was five days in both groups. No systemic or significant local side effects were noted in either treatment group. Trough levels of acyclovir in the tear fluid of those who received the oral preparation were within or above the range of mean in-vitro ID50 levels for herpes simplex virus type 1. We conclude that oral administration of acyclovir (400 mg, five times daily) may be an effective alternative to topical therapy in selected patients.
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