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January 1985

Failure of Lysine?

Author Affiliations

Department of Radiology Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center 975 Sereno Dr Vallejo, CA 94589

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(1):21. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660010025002

To the Editor.—  In the January Archives, DiGiovanna and Blank1 reported failure of lysine in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Caution is urged in the interpretation of their results. The L-isomer allosterically inhibits herpes in vitro,2,3 while the D-isomer is biologically inactive. It is not stated whether the lysine used was pure L-isomer. Assuming it was, the small number of patients (ten control, ten treated), the severity of the cases (patients had lesions present more than 40% of the time), and the low dosage (1,200 mg/day) all raise questions. In severe cases, high doses (3 g/day) are often required. In addition, there was no true control group, since all the patients were arginine restricted, an integral part of the therapy. This may explain why "most of our patients did indeed think that they were receiving the active medication and that it was having a beneficial effect." Thus the

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