Am J Perinatol 1998; 15(1): 57-62
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-993900

© 1998 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Cost-Effectiveness of Acyclovir Suppression to Prevent Recurrent Genital Herpes in Term Pregnancy

L. Laurie Scott, James Alexander
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dallas, Texas
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
04 March 2008 (online)


The objective of this paper is to determine whether acyclovir suppression provides a greater cost savings over no medical therapy in the management of recurrent genital herpes (HSV) in pregnancy. Estimates of the risk of HSV recurrence and cesarean delivery rates in acyclovir-treated and -untreated patients and frequency of neonatal acyclovir treatment were derived from literature reviews, prospective surveillance, and practices at our institution. Estimates of costs were derived from average hospital and outpatient clinic charges at our institution. Calculations were run separately for four different groups of patients: women whose first diagnosis of genital herpes occurred during the pregnancy, women whose diagnosis antedated pregnancy and who had infrequent recurrences, women whose diagnosis antedated pregnancy and had frequent recurrences, and all women with a history of genital herpes regardless of timing of diagnosis or frequency of recurrences. Suppressive acyclovir treatment of all term pregnant women with a history of genital herpes resulted in an estimated savings of $183.00 per patient or $36,600,000 per year. Women with their first episode of herpes diagnosed during pregnancy or with frequent recurrences benefitted even more, achieving a savings of $455.00 and $391.00 per patient, respectively. Assuming that prenatal acyclovir treatment is safe for the fetus, utilizing this management for all patients with recurrent HSV in pregnancy could immediately save $183 per patient. On a national level, this translates to $36,600,000 per year just in reduced obstetrical costs. If indirect costs associated with cesarean deliveries had been included in these calculations, the estimated savings would be even more substantial.