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Am J Transplant. 2008 Jan;8(1):69-77. Epub 2007 Oct 31.

Valacyclovir prophylaxis versus preemptive valganciclovir therapy to prevent cytomegalovirus disease after renal transplantation.

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Department of Internal Medicine I, Charles Medical School and Teaching Hospital, Pilsen, Czech Republic.


Both preemptive therapy and universal prophylaxis are used to prevent cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease after transplantation. Randomized trials comparing both strategies are sparse. Renal transplant recipients at risk for CMV (D+/R-, D+/R+, D-/R+) were randomized to 3-month prophylaxis with valacyclovir (2 g q.i.d., n = 34) or preemptive therapy with valganciclovir (900 mg b.i.d. for a minimum of 14 days, n = 36) for significant CMV DNAemia (>/=2000 copies/mL by quantitative PCR in whole blood) assessed weekly for 16 weeks and at 5, 6, 9 and 12 months. The 12-month incidence of CMV DNAemia was higher in the preemptive group (92% vs. 59%, p < 0.001) while the incidence of CMV disease was not different (6% vs. 9%, p = 0.567). The onset of CMV DNAemia was delayed in the valacyclovir group (37 +/- 22 vs. 187 +/- 110 days, p < 0.001). Significantly higher rate of biopsy-proven acute rejection during 12 months was observed in the preemptive group (36% vs. 15%, p = 0.034). The average CMV-associated costs per patient were $5525 and $2629 in preemptive therapy and valacyclovir, respectively (p < 0.001). However, assuming the cost of $60 per PCR test, there was no difference in overall costs. In conclusion, preemptive valganciclovir therapy and valacyclovir prophylaxis are equally effective in the prevention of CMV disease after renal transplantation.

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