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Clin Investig. 1992 May;70(5):456-8.

Combined and alternating ganciclovir and foscarnet in acute and maintenance therapy of human immunodeficiency virus-related cytomegalovirus encephalitis refractory to ganciclovir alone. A case report and review of the literature.

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  • 1II. Medizinische Klinik, Universitätsklinikum Rudolf Virchow, Freie Universität Berlin.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) causes life-threatening disseminated infections and in particular vision-threatening infections of the retina in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Ganciclovir currently represents the most frequently used therapy for CMV retinitis. However, cases of ganciclovir-resistant CMV strains have been described, in which foscarnet seems to be an effective alternative. Both drugs have serious toxicities, and relapses frequently occur during maintenance therapy. In a patient with CMV encephalitis, we administered a 3-week combination ganciclovir/foscarnet induction therapy (ganciclovir 5 mg/kg every 12 h; foscarnet 60 mg/kg every 8 h), followed by an alternating maintenance administration of both drugs every other day (ganciclovir 5 mg/kg, foscarnet 120 mg/kg) to reduce toxicity and resistance. This regimen was tolerated well and seemed to be more effective than ganciclovir alone in a patient with CMV encephalitis.

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