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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1987 Aug;31(8):1251-4.

Human pharmacokinetics and tolerance of oral ganciclovir.


Ganciclovir is a nucleoside analog which inhibits the replication of herpesviruses in vitro and which has been effective by intravenous administration for the treatment of severe cytomegalovirus infection in immunocompromised patients. Because most patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and severe cytomegalovirus infection have required lifelong daily suppressive ganciclovir therapy to control disease progression, oral therapy appears to have practical advantages. We studied the pharmacokinetics of orally administered ganciclovir in four patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and cytomegalovirus retinitis. Repeated oral ganciclovir doses (10 to 20 mg/kg every 6 h) were well tolerated. With a 20-mg/kg dose given every 6 h, mean steady-state peak and trough levels were 2.96 and 1.05 microM, respectively, and the area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h was 47 microM X h. Calculated absorption was 3.0%, based on urinary excretion. Because the levels achieved in serum with oral ganciclovir approximated those required to inhibit cytomegalovirus in vitro, a trial of oral maintenance therapy in immunocompromised patients with severe cytomegalovirus infections seems warranted.

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