Chickenpox: treatment

Overview

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Substantive changes at this update

Aciclovir (later than 24 hours after onset of rash) for treatment in healthy adults and children (including neonates) Evidence re-evaluated. Categorisation changed from 'unknown effectivenss' to 'unlikely to be beneficial'.

Aciclovir for treatment in immunocompromised adults Existing evidence re-evaluated. Categorisation changed from 'unknown effectiveness' to 'likely to be beneficial' by consensus.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Chickenpox is extremely contagious. More than 90% of unvaccinated people will become infected during their lifetime, but infection occurs at different ages in different parts of the world. In the US, the UK, and Japan, more than 80% of people have been infected by the age of 10 years, and by the age of 20 to 30 years in India, South East Asia, and the West Indies. It is usually a mild and self-limiting disease, but it can be severely complicated by pneumonitis or disseminated disease in some individuals, particularly neonates and those who are immunocompromised. METHODS AND OUTCOMES: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatment for chickenpox in healthy adults and children (including neonates) within 24 hours after onset of rash? What are the effects of treatment for chickenpox in healthy adults and children (including neonates) later than 24 hours after onset of rash? What are the effects of treatment for chickenpox in immunocompromised adults and children (including neonates)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to January 2014 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). RESULTS: We found six studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions. CONCLUSIONS: In this systematic overview we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of aciclovir, within 24 hours of onset of rash or later than 24 hours of onset of rash, in otherwise-healthy adults and children (including neonates); and aciclovir in immunocompromised adults and children (including neonates).

Cite as

Cohen J, Breuer J. Chickenpox: treatment. Systematic review 912. BMJ Clinical Evidence. . 2015 June. Accessed [date].

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