OBJECTIVE: The objective was to obtain preliminary pharmacokinetic data for acyclovir from gravid women receiving herpes simplex virus suppressive therapy with the acyclovir prodrug valacyclovir.
STUDY DESIGN: In a prospective, double-blind trial, 20 women with a history of recurrent genital herpes simplex virus infection and positive herpes simplex virus 2 serologic results were randomly assigned at 36 weekstextquoteright gestation to receive oral valacyclovir (500 mg twice daily) or acyclovir (400 mg 3 times daily). Acyclovir pharmacokinetic profiles were obtained after the initial dose (36 weeks) and at steady state (38 weeks). Amniotic fluid samples were obtained during labor and simultaneous umbilical cord and maternal plasma samples were collected at delivery. Laboratory studies were performed to screen for laboratory evidence of toxicity in mothers and infants.
RESULTS: Peak acyclovir plasma concentrations (mean +/- standard deviation) were higher in valacyclovir recipients than in acyclovir recipients after the initial dose (3.14 +/- 0.7 microg/mL vs 0.74 +/- 0.6 microg/mL, P < .0001) and at steady state (3.03 +/- 1.0 microg/mL vs 0.94 +/- 0.7 microg/mL, P < .001). The daily area under the curve values were higher in valacyclovir recipients than acyclovir recipients after the initial dose (17.8 +/- 3.6 h x microg/mL vs 7.71 +/- 2.5 h x microg/mL, P < .001) and at steady state (19.65 +/- 6.4 h x microg/mL versus 11.0 +/- 4.5 h x microg/mL