Human Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) Infection Medication

Updated: Aug 16, 2019
  • Author: John L Kiley, MD; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
  • Print

Medication Summary

Drug therapy specific to the infection is not currently a component of the standard of care for human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infection. Supportive therapy, using antipyretics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, is indicated. Although HHV-6 is inhibited by several antiviral drugs (eg, ganciclovir and foscarnet) in the laboratory, no clinical trials have assessed their benefit, and their role in the treatment of HHV-6 infection remains to be determined.



Class Summary

Nucleoside analogues are initially phosphorylated by viral thymidine kinase to eventually form a nucleoside triphosphate, resulting in the inhibition of viral replication.

Ganciclovir (Cytovene)

Ganciclovir is an acyclic nucleoside analogue of 2'-deoxyguanosine that inhibits replication of herpes viruses both in vitro and in vivo.

Foscarnet (Foscavir)

Foscarnet is an organic analogue of inorganic pyrophosphate that inhibits replication of known herpesviruses. It inhibits viral replication at pyrophosphate-binding sites on virus-specific DNA polymerases. Poor clinical response or persistent viral excretion during therapy may be due to viral resistance.



Class Summary

Control of pain and fever is essential to quality patient care. Antipyretics inhibit central synthesis and release of prostaglandins that mediate the effect of endogenous pyrogens in the hypothalamus; thus, they promote the return of the set-point temperature to normal.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic activities. Their mechanism of action is unknown, but they may inhibit cyclooxygenase activity and prostaglandin synthesis. Other possible mechanisms include inhibition of leukotriene synthesis, lysosomal enzyme release, lipoxygenase activity, neutrophil aggregation, and various cell-membrane functions.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, FeverAll, Aspirin-Free Anacin Extra)

Acetaminophen is used as an antipyretic and analgesic. It reduces fever by acting directly on hypothalamic heat-regulating centers, thereby increasing dissipation of body heat via vasodilation and sweating.

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Ibu)

Ibuprofen is used as an antipyretic and analgesic. It inhibits inflammatory reactions, fever, and pain by decreasing prostaglandin synthesis. It is not recommended for children younger than 6 months.