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March 1988

Isotretinoin Therapy for Recurrent Herpes Simplex Lesions

Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(3):323-325. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670030011007

To the Editor.—  Herpes simplex infections, both oral and genital, have become a prominent part of dermatologic practices in the past decade. This is due, in part, to changing sexual practices in society, as well as increased public awareness through popularization of the subject in the news media. Unfortunately, advances in treatment of this disease have not kept pace with the explosion of patient awareness. Several therapies, met with initial enthusiasm, have failed to be therapeutically substantiated cures with double-blind studies. Included in this group are oral L-lysine monohydrochloride, 2-deoxy-D-glucose, and topical acyclovir. Oral acyclovir has been shown to decrease the number of recurrences, as well as the duration of each episode, but must be taken on a continual basis for effectiveness in prophylaxis.Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid) is one of the synthetic retinoids derived from vitamin A. Although initially approved in the United States for the treatment of nodulocystic acne,