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The pharmacokinetics of valganciclovir prophylaxis in pediatric solid organ transplant patients at risk for Epstein–Barr virus disease

Authors Vezina H, Brundage RC, Nevins TE, Balfour Jr HH

Published 22 December 2009 Volume 2010:2 Pages 1—7


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Heather E Vezina1,2, Richard C Brundage2, Thomas E Nevins3, Henry H Balfour Jr1,3

1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, 2Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, 3Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Abstract: Antiviral prophylaxis with valganciclovir is used frequently in pediatric solid organ transplant patients to prevent Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)-induced infections and tissue-invasive disease including post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). This approach is untested in clinical trials and valganciclovir dosing strategies in children are highly variable. Our objective was to characterize the pharmacokinetics of ganciclovir in the plasma of pediatric kidney and liver transplant patients taking valganciclovir for EBV prophylaxis. Virologic response was also evaluated. Ganciclovir was measured by liquid chromatography/ultraviolet detection. EBV DNA was quantified by TaqMan® polymerase chain reaction. NONMEM® VI was used for data analysis. Ganciclovir plasma profiles were consistent with a one-compartment model. Final model estimates of apparent oral clearance (L/h), apparent volume of distribution (L), and absorption rate constant were 7.33, 35.1, and 0.85, respectively. There was evidence of lower bioavailability in children younger than three years. All eight subjects achieved ganciclovir plasma concentrations above reported in vitro concentrations needed to inhibit EBV replication by 50%. However, four subjects had detectable EBV DNA with a median (range) of 18,300 (4,400 to 54,900) copies/mL of whole blood. These findings support the need for further studies of the clinical pharmacology and efficacy of valganciclovir for EBV prophylaxis.

Keywords: valganciclovir, ganciclovir, pharmacokinetics, Epstein–Barr virus, pediatrics, solid organ transplantation

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