Zoster Eye Disease Study (ZEDS)

  • End date
    Jul 31, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    NYU Langone Health
Updated on 14 March 2022
antiviral drugs
zoster vaccine


This is a multi-center, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial of suppressive valacyclovir for one year in immunocompetent study participants with an episode of dendriform epithelial keratitis, stromal keratitis, endothelial keratitis, and/or iritis due to Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus (HZO) in the year prior to enrollment.


The objective of the Zoster Eye Disease Study (ZEDS) is to determine whether prolonged suppressive oral antiviral treatment with valacyclovir reduces complications of Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus (HZO), thereby improving clinical outcomes in this common and potentially vision- and life-threatening disease. There are 1,000,000 new cases of Herpes Zoster (HZ) per year in the USA, with 10-20% being HZO.

Specific AIMS

Primary Aim: The primary aim of this double-masked, placebo controlled multicenter randomized clinical trial will test the hypothesis that suppressive antiviral treatment for 12 months with oral valacyclovir 1000 mg daily reduces the rate of new or worsening dendriform epithelial keratitis, stromal keratitis, endothelial keratitis or iritis compared to placebo, at 12 months as the primary endpoint, and at 18 months including 6 months of follow-up after treatment, as a secondary endpoint, in patients with HZO who have had an episode of one of these disease manifestations during the year prior to enrollment.

Secondary AIM: The second aim is to test the hypothesis that suppressive treatment for 12 months with oral valacyclovir 1000 mg daily reduces the severity and duration of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), compared to placebo, at 12 months and at 18 months as secondary endpoints, in similar patients with HZO. PHN is a debilitating chronic pain syndrome that negatively impacts quality of life, especially in elderly patients.

The study will enroll immunocompetent patients age 18 years and older who have HZO diagnosed at variable times in the past, with these types of active anterior segment ocular segment disease within the past year. Eligible patients will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio to long-term suppressive treatment with oral valacyclovir 1000 mg daily or placebo for 12 months, plus usual ophthalmic care, and followed every 3 months for a total of 18 months, to determine outcomes of new or worsening dendriform epithelial keratitis, stromal keratitis, endothelial keratitis or iritis and/or severity and duration of PHN during 12 months of treatment and for 6 months following treatment discontinuation. The results with regard to PHN may be applicable to HZ in other locations. If suppressive valacyclovir treatment is determined to be effective, the potentially devastating disease burden of HZO and HZ may be reduced for patients, as well as the annual costs to society, estimated in the USA to be one billion dollars.

Condition Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus
Treatment Masked Placebo, Masked Oral Valacyclovir
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03134196
SponsorNYU Langone Health
Last Modified on14 March 2022


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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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