Sequential treatment of cytomegalovirus infection or disease with a short course of intravenous ganciclovir followed by oral valganciclovir: Efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics

Nephrology Department, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
Transplant Infectious Disease (Impact Factor: 2.06). 12/2009; 12(3):204-12. DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2009.00481.x
Source: PubMed


Oral (p.o.) or intravenous (IV) ganciclovir (GCV) has been the first-line agent for prevention and treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and disease in solid organ transplantation (SOT). The introduction of p.o. valganciclovir, with higher bioavailability than p.o. GCV, has proven to be a suitable approach toward outpatient p.o. therapy for CMV infection/disease. The present single-arm, exploratory pilot trial performed with 21 patients investigates the efficacy and safety of a short therapeutic course (21 days) based on an initial IV treatment with GCV (5 mg/kg twice daily, for 5 days) followed by p.o. valganciclovir (900 mg twice daily, for 16 days) for CMV infection/disease in SOT patients. In all cases, doses were adjusted for renal function. Moreover, the study allowed comparison of exposure to GCV after p.o. valganciclovir with respect to IV GCV in the same patients. Response to treatment was monitored until day 180. Viral load eradication was achieved in 66.7% of patients, on day 21. Although not statistically significant, a trend was seen toward increased persistence of viral load on day 21 for patients with donor positive/recipient negative CMV serostatus or receiving either anti-rejection therapy or polyclonal anti-thymocyte globulin. CMV clinical infection recurred in 14.3% of patients, with higher recurrence rates in patients with risk factors for persistence of viremia. Exposures to GCV after using IV GCV or p.o. valganciclovir showed comparable values (P=0.054). This short course, combining initial IV GCV and subsequent p.o. valganciclovir, may provide effective exposure and therapeutic response in the treatment of CMV infection in SOT patients with adequate drug exposure and with the additional potential benefit of shortening the length of hospital stay, which may result in cost reduction and improved patient comfort.

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    ABSTRACT: In 2001 valganciclovir was approved by the FDA for treatment of HIV associated retinitis and in 2003 for prevention of post transplant CMV. This review provides an update on the status of its use and areas of controversy: How long should prophylaxis be given?; What is the appropriate dose for prophylaxis?; Can it be used in children, and at what dose?; Can it be used to treat CMV disease? The question of optimal dosing will probably not be settled as the sample size for controlled trials would be prohibitive. Other trials clearly show that extended therapy provides added benefit, the drug is safe and an appropriate dose has been identified in children and oral therapy of CMV disease is effective.
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    ABSTRACT: In patients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease, regular monitoring of viral loads and treatment until negative are recommended. However, with more sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays and cellular peripheral sample types, detection of low-level viremia is achievable. We compared a whole blood real-time PCR with a plasma PCR assay for monitoring therapeutic response. Patients enrolled in a trial to treat CMV disease for 21 days had regular viral load monitoring. The results of a plasma-based PCR assay were compared with a real-time PCR assay of whole blood and assessed for their ability to predict recurrence. In 219 evaluable patients, viral loads in plasma versus whole blood demonstrated good correlation but significant difference in absolute value and clearance kinetics. Virus was still detectable by day 21 in 154 of 219 (70.3%) patients with the whole blood versus 105 of 219 (52.1%; P<0.001) patients with the plasma assay. The positive predictive value of persistent plasma viremia at day 21 for virologic recurrence was 41.9% vs. 36.3% for the whole blood assay. In the subset of patients with a negative plasma but positive whole blood at day 21 (n = 49), the incidence of virologic recurrence was similar to that of all patients with a negative plasma assay (23.1% vs. 23.6%). When treating CMV disease, enhanced detection of residual viremia using a whole blood real-time PCR does not seem to offer significant clinical advantages nor allows for better prediction of recurrence of CMV viremia or disease. The treat-to-negative paradigm may not hold true when such assays are used.
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