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Drugs. 2001;61(8):1145-50 ; discussion 1151-2.


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Adis International Limited, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.


Valganciclovir is a prodrug of ganciclovir which has been developed for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in patients with AIDS. Oral valganciclovir is rapidly absorbed and hydrolysed to ganciclovir. The oral bioavailability of ganciclovir after oral valganciclovir administration is high. Oral valganciclovir 900 mg provides a daily exposure of ganciclovir comparable to that of intravenous ganciclovir 5 mg/kg. A single, randomised, nonblind study indicated that oral valganciclovir (900mg twice daily for 3 weeks then 900 mg once daily) and intravenous ganciclovir (5 mg/kg twice daily for 3 weeks then 5 mg/kg once daily) were equally effective in the treatment of newly diagnosed CMV retinitis in 160 patients with AIDS. Valganciclovir appears to have a similar tolerability profile to intravenous ganciclovir during induction therapy in patients with AIDS and newly diagnosed CMV retinitis. During maintenance therapy with valganciclovir, the most commonly reported adverse events included neutropenia, anaemia, thrombocytopenia, gastrointestinal (including diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain), fever, headache, insomnia, peripheral neuropathy, paraesthesia and retinal detachment.

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