Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection - Treatment

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What is the treatment for cytomegalovirus infection?

There is no cure for CMV, and treatment for CMV infection is not necessary in healthy children and adults. People with a weakened immune system who have symptoms of CMV infection may be placed on antiviral medication. Up to 75% of transplant recipients develop CMV infection. Those who have a very high risk of developing severe CMV infection may be placed on antiviral medication to prevent CMV disease. This pretreatment is called prophylaxis. This method has helped reduce the number of CMV infections in these patients. The antiviral medications against CMV include the following:

  • Ganciclovir (Cytovene) is the first antiviral medication approved for the treatment of CMV infection. Ganciclovir, given intravenously, is the drug of choice for the treatment of CMV infection. Side effects include fever, rash, diarrhea, anemia, and low white blood cell and platelet counts.
  • Valganciclovir (Valcyte) is an oral medication that is activated to ganciclovir in the body and widely used to prevent CMV infection (prophylaxis). It is used in selected patients for the treatment of CMV infection and is as effective as intravenous ganciclovir in milder cases.
  • Foscarnet (Foscavir) is active against CMV by a different mechanism than ganciclovir and used to treat infections with CMV that are resistant to ganciclovir. It is a second-line therapy for patients who do not tolerate ganciclovir treatment. Foscarnet is toxic to the kidneys and can cause seizures due to an imbalance of minerals and electrolytes.
  • Cidofovir (Vistide) is an alternative therapy for patients who have failed ganciclovir and foscarnet treatment. Its use is limited due to toxicity to the kidneys. It is used mainly for the treatment of CMV infection of the eye (retinitis) in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • CMV immune globulin contains antibodies (proteins) that are specific to CMV. It may be prescribed to prevent CMV infection in high-risk lung transplant patients when given in addition to ganciclovir. It is also used with ganciclovir to treat CMV pneumonia.

No antiviral drug is currently available for the prevention of congenital CMV infection. However, some infants who have infection involving the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) may benefit from treatment. Some evidence shows that ganciclovir may prevent hearing loss and developmental problems in infants who have severe symptoms of congenital CMV infection. Because of the serious side effects of ganciclovir, a physician specialist should be consulted.

There are no home remedies proven to be effective in treating CMV infection.

Return to Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

See what others are saying

Comment from: 64Grandmother, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 30

In my late forties I suddenly experienced extreme fatigue and brain fog. After about a year of searching I happened upon a newsletter which indicated treatment for the symptoms I was experiencing. My blood tests are positive for CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection. I began IV drips which are massive doses of vitamin C and a concoction of other vitamins and minerals. I am on a maintenance program as there is no cure but I can fully function and enjoy life (trips, family gatherings, hiking, etc.) as long as I maintain the drips. I have been on this treatment for 14 years and all my grandchildren tell me when it is time for a drip when I start to get extremely tired.

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Comment from: Girl, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 01

I am 25. I have severe Crohn's for past 3 years. I had a very serious infection of CMV (cytomegalovirus) in the intestines. It was 4 weeks after serious symptoms that I was hospitalized and diagnosed with CMV and in the bowel with it. I took oral Valcyte. I took 900 mg 2 times a day for 6 weeks. At the start of treatment viral load was 1,200 then peaked at 2,000 a few days later, and then 2 weeks on treatment was 14. Wow! It took me 2 weeks to have strength to stand or walk again but I feel so much better. An infectious disease physician's assistant treated me. I will be researching and experimenting with wild oregano oil.

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