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October 1977

Treatment of Herpes Simplex Infections-Reply

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(10):1463. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640100141049

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In Reply.—  It is true that the control patients did respond favorably to placebo injections in the study by Kern and Schiff (Archives 89:844-845, 1964) who used heat-inactivated herpesvirus hominis type 1 vaccine for management of recurrent herpes labialis. This observation should emphasize the critical need to use controls in any scientific study of drugs that are used for the prevention or management of herpes simplex infection. This is not meant to demean or minimize the placebo effect that is a legitimate and important part of the physician's therapeutic equipment and methods. It is only important that the physician recognize this fact as such. While sterile saline is safe, and Kern and Schiff's patients experienced favorable responses, I would question the propriety of using placebo therapy without the patient's consent.

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