Study finds once-daily Valcyte prevents serious viral infection after kidney transplant

MIAMI, Fla. and BOSTON May 18, 2003 Research conducted in the Division of Transplantation at the University of Miami School of Medicine has found that at least three months of therapy with a single daily dose of the antiviral medication Valcyte (valganciclovir HCl tablets) safely and effectively prevents cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common infection in kidney transplant patients taking highly potent immunosuppressive therapy. The results were presented today at the American Transplant Congress in Boston.

"CMV disease is one of the most serious infections that can occur after a transplant because it can lead to loss of the transplanted organ and even death," said Gaetano Ciancio, M.D., lead author of the study and professor of surgery and urology, Division of Kidney, Kidney/Pancreas Transplant at the University of Miami School of Medicine. "Transplant patients are often taking a number of medications, so giving them a more simplified therapy to prevent this dangerous condition is ideal."

CMV, which is present in a latent form in as many as 80 percent of the population, can activate and trigger a variety of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions and opportunistic infections, such as pneumonia or hepatitis, in transplant patients with suppressed immune systems.

Valcyte is an oral prodrug, or improved formulation, of Cytovene (ganciclovir), which has been widely used to prevent CMV for the past 15 years. This study compared treatment with the two medications and found that both are equally effective at preventing CMV in transplant patients. The difference is that Valcyte requires a comparatively smaller once-daily dose, while patients must take a larger dose of Cytovene three times daily.

"Valcyte has superior bioavailability to Cytovene in the body, which ultimately translates into fewer daily doses for patients," said Dr. Ciancio. "These findings represent yet another step forward in the improvement of care and quality of life for transpl

Contact: Jeanne Antol Krull

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