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J Med Virol. 1993;Suppl 1:150-3.

Valaciclovir (BW256U87): the L-valyl ester of acyclovir.

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Medical Service, San Francisco General Hospital, CA 94110.


Valaciclovir (BW256U87) is an L-valyl ester of acyclovir, which is extensively and almost completely converted to acyclovir. In healthy human volunteers, single valaciclovir doses of 100-1000 mg resulted in dose-proportional increases in acyclovir area under the curve (AUC). The 1,000 mg dose produced an acyclovir peak plasma concentration (Cmax) of 5-6 micrograms/ml, AUC6 of 19 hr. micrograms/ml, time to maximum plasma concentration (Tmax) of 1-2 hr, and half-life (T1/2) of 2.8 hr. Plasma valaciclovir peak levels were < 0.3 micrograms/ml, and the prodrug was undetectable after 3 hr. Multiple valaciclovir doses of 250-2,000 mg given four times daily for 10 days resulted in dose-proportional increases in acyclovir Cmax. There were less than proportional increases in the AUCs. No serious or unexpected adverse events or laboratory abnormalities were reported. In volunteers with advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease (absolute CD4 lymphocyte count < 150 cells/microliters), acyclovir and valaciclovir pharmacokinetic results were nearly identical to those in healthy volunteers. At the 2 g dose administered four times daily, steady-state acyclovir Cmax = 8.4 micrograms/ml, Tmax = 2.0 hr, AUC6 = 30.5 hr. micrograms/ml, and T1/2 = 3.3 hr. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain were commonly reported; however, only one adverse event (diarrhoea) was causally linked to valaciclovir exposure. There were no renal or neurologic adverse events. Valaciclovir is well absorbed and is rapidly converted to acyclovir, resulting in three- to fourfold higher acyclovir levels than can be achieved with oral acyclovir, even in patients with advanced HIV disease. The safety profile is generally favourable, with no evidence of nephrotoxicity or neurotoxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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