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Read Original Story

One-day fight against herpes

Rating

3 Star

One-day fight against herpes

Our Review Summary

This story reports on the recent FDA approval of a one-day dose of an antiviral medication, Famvir, for herpes.

The story clearly states that this is a new formulation of an existing drug. The story states that the FDA recently approved the new dosing regimen. By accurately describing the prevalence of herpes simplex virus or HSV, the story avoids disease mongering. However, the story should have mentioned what percentage of HSV infections are symptomatic and the comments about HSV and pregnancy need a bit more explanation.

Because the story quotes multiple sources, the reader can safely assume that the story did not rely on a press release as the sole source of information.

The story provides some quantification of benefits of treatment, but they are presented in relative terms only. The story states that the drug “shortened outbreaks by about two days.” Was it from 3 to 1 or 20 to 18? The reader should be provided more context for these numbers.

Although the story mentions other antiviral medications, including the topical ointment and daily pills, as the alternative to the one-day dosing of Famvir, the story should have further described the advantages and disadvantages of this new approach compared to the existing ones. The story also confused the treatment of existing outbreaks with preventing outbreaks.

The story also does not mention costs nor does it mention harms of the drug, which include nausea and vomiting.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention costs.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story provides some quantification of benefits of treatment, they are presented in relative terms only. The story states that the drug “shortened outbreaks by about two days.” Was it from 3 to 1 or 20 to 18? The reader should be provided more context for these numbers.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention harms of the drug, which can include nausea and vomiting.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions a study, the story does not describe the design of the study or the strength of the available evidence.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

By accurately describing the prevalence of herpes simplex virus, the story avoids disease mongering. However, the story should have mentioned what percent of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections are symptomatic and the comments about HSV and pregnancy need a bit more explanation. HSV is an important issue in pregnancy and an infection at the time of delivery can be devastating. The revised dosing regimens for Famvir are not likely to alter the problem. The majority of infected infants are born to mothers who are asymptomatic at delivery and have no history of genital herpes. Infant transmission is more likely when the mother has recently been infected that if the infection is longstanding.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story quotes multiple sources, however only one of them was not associated with one of the trials. The story could have quoted other, independent researchers or clinicians who could have provided more perspective.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions other antiviral medications, including the topical ointment and daily pills, as the alternative to the one-day dosing of Famvir, the story should have further described the advantages and disadvantages of this new approach compared to the existing ones. Studies may have shown a benefit that is statistically significant, but will it be clinically significant? That’s where input from more independent sources would have been helpful. The story also confused the treatment of existing outbreaks with preventing outbreaks.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story states that the FDA recently approved the new dosing regimen for the drug Famvir.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story clearly states that this is a new formulation of an existing drug. Unfortunately, the story did not mention anything about the logistics of treatment. For cold sores, the drug was taken within ONE hour of symptoms. That means people will need to be able to distinguish the symptoms from other non-HSV symptoms and have the drug available at all times. The problem is about the same for genital herpes.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

Because the story quotes multiple sources, the reader can safely assume that the story did not rely on a press release as the sole source of information.

Total Score: 5 of 10 Satisfactory

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