Safety considerations with current and emerging antiviral therapies for cytomegalovirus infection in transplantation

Guy El Helou, Raymund R. Razonable

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction: Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a major contributor of morbidity and mortality, and its management is essential for the successful outcome of solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Areas covered: This review discusses the safety profiles of currently available and emerging antiviral drugs and the other strategies for HCMV prevention and treatment after transplantation. Expert opinion: Strategies for management of HCMV rely largely on the use of antiviral agents that inhibit viral DNA polymerase (ganciclovir/valganciclovir, foscarnet, and cidofovir/brincidofovir) and viral terminase complex (letermovir), with different types and degrees of adverse effects. An investigational agent, maribavir, exerts its anti-CMV effect through UL97 inhibition, and its safety profile is under clinical evaluation. In choosing the antiviral medication to use, it is important to consider these safety profiles in addition to overall efficacy. In addition to antiviral drugs, reduction of immunosuppression is often generally needed in the management of HCMV infection, but with a potential risk of allograft rejection or graft-versus-host disease. The use of HCMV-specific or non-specific intravenous immunoglobulins remains debated, while adoptive HCMV-specific T cell therapy remains investigational, and associated with unique set of adverse effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1030
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Safety
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2 2019


  • Ganciclovir
  • cidofovir
  • cytomegalovirus
  • foscarnet
  • letermovir
  • maribavir
  • transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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