The Role of Antiviral Therapy in Immunocompromised Patients With Herpes Simplex Virus Meningitis

A. Noska, R. Kyrillos, G. Hansen, D. Hirigoyen, D. N. Williams
2014 Clinical Infectious Diseases  
Background. Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are important causes of acute neurologic illness. Although the role of acyclovir in treating HSV encephalitis is clear, the role of antiviral therapy in HSV meningitis remains controversial. Methods. In this retrospective observational study, we reviewed the charts of all patients with cerebrospinal fluid specimens positive for HSV-1 or HSV-2 by polymerase chain reaction between July 2000 and November 2012. Patients' charts were
more » ... viewed for demographic data, clinical presentation, treatment, and clinical outcomes. Results. Forty-two patient-episodes were clinically classified as meningitis. In 6 episodes (14.3%), patients with meningitis received no antivirals, whereas the remaining episodes were treated with an oral antiviral (n = 11 [26.2%]), combination intravenous and oral therapy (n = 22 [52.4%]), or intravenous acyclovir alone (n = 3 [7.1%]). Six patients had recurrent episodes of meningitis and all recovered without any neurologic sequelae. Neurologic outcomes were significantly improved with antiviral therapy in immunocompromised patients with herpes meningitis (P < .05), but not in the 27 patient-episodes among immunocompetent patients (P = 1.0), as no neurologic sequelae were noted in this group. Conclusions. Most patients with HSV meningitis rapidly improve, but immunocompromised hosts have more neurologic sequelae and may benefit from antiviral therapy. Our data suggest symptomatic treatment alone for immunocompetent patients with HSV meningitis, avoiding the cost and side effects of prolonged intravenous acyclovir therapy; in contrast, immunocompromised patients had improved outcomes and would therefore benefit from antiviral therapy.
doi:10.1093/cid/ciu772 pmid:25273082 fatcat:dsv5crcddfabbfo7jrkiokih6q