Background and objectives
Both valganciclovir and high-dose valacyclovir are recommended for cytomegalovirus prophylaxis after renal transplantation. A head-to-head comparison of both regimens is lacking. The objective of the study was to compare valacyclovir prophylaxis with valganciclovir, which constituted the control group.
Design, settings, participants, & measurements
In a randomized, open-label, single-center trial, recipients of renal transplants (recipient or donor cytomegalovirus-seropositive) were randomly allocated (1:1) to 3-month prophylaxis with valacyclovir (2 g four times daily) or valganciclovir (900 mg daily). Enrollment occurred from November of 2007 to April of 2012. The primary end points were cytomegalovirus DNAemia and biopsy-proven acute rejection at 12 months. Analysis was by intention to treat.
In total, 119 patients were assigned to valacyclovir (n=59) or valganciclovir prophylaxis (n=60). Cytomegalovirus DNAemia developed in 24 (43%) of 59 patients in the valacyclovir group and 18 (31%) of 60 patients in the valganciclovir group (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 0.71 to 2.54; P=0.36). The incidence of cytomegalovirus disease was 2% with valacyclovir and 5% with valganciclovir prophylaxis (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.21; 95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 5.90; P=0.36). Significantly more patients with valacyclovir prophylaxis developed biopsy-proven acute rejection (18 of 59 [31%] versus 10 of 60 [17%]; adjusted hazard ratio, 2.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.09 to 5.65; P=0.03). The incidence of polyomavirus viremia was higher in the valganciclovir group (18% versus 36%; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.43; 95% confidence interval, 0.19 to 0.96; P=0.04).
Valganciclovir shows no superior efficacy in cytomegalovirus DNAemia prevention compared with valacyclovir prophylaxis. However, the risk of biopsy-proven acute rejection is higher with valacyclovir.