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Confused after reading archives
Nov 19, 2007

I'm confused after pouring over the archives on PEP. The window of time to initiate PEP is 72 hours, correct? I was told this and I made my decision to start at 56 hours. The specialists and providers never mentioned "earlier the better" within that 72 hour time frame. I've read quite a few archives here that suggest otherwise. My question: Should I have waited so long to make my decision? Should the literature from the CDC be more specific? Could the 72 hour window be misleading? Curious to know your expert thoughts.

Response from Dr. Conway

It is quite clear, based on animal experiments, that the earlier after an exposure that post-exposure prophylaxis is given, the more effective it will be. In workplaces where such exposures are more common, the medications are actually avaialble on the spot, and treatment is bgun within minutes of a significant exposure. The potential benefit decreases as time from the exposure to treatment increases. However, for more significant exposures, we can begin PEP as long as 72 hours later, although beginning within 24 hours is now becoming a more common rule of thumb.



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