• Thirty-one late adolescents and adults with varicella were studied. Patients identified within 72 hours of varicella exanthem were offered open treatment with acyclovir (4 g/d), and those patients identified after 72 hours of exanthem were followed up but not treated. Twenty-two patients were treated with acyclovir. Nine patients were not treated. No severe complications occurred in any of the 31 patients. Minor complications, including prolonged fever, localized secondary infections, persistent cough, and prolonged fatigue were more frequent in the untreated group. If the acyclovir therapy was begun within the first 24 hours of varicella exanthem, then the rash and clinical illness were dramatically lessened. Treatment with oral acyclovir should be considered for varicella in adults who are identified within the first 24 hours of exanthem.
(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:2061 -2065)