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Valganciclovir (Valcyte) is an antiviral medication mostly used to treat cytomegalovirus infections. It is active against a number of herpesviruses.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome[edit | edit source]

Valganciclovir (Valcyte) is used off-label to treat patients with ME/CFS. Studies have shown mixed evidence of efficacy.

Valganciclovir (Valcyte) may improve systems by via its broad spectrum antiviral activity against latent herpesviruses, which may reactivate in immunocompromised patients, including ME/CFS patients. It may also have direct anti-inflammatory effects. ME/CFS patients have been shown to have chronic activation of microglia[1] and valganciclovir (Valcyte) inhibits microglia proliferation and activation.[2]

In a 2013 study by Montoya, et al, some improvement using valganciclovir was reported in a subset of ME/CFS patients with elevated IgG antibody titers against HHV-6 and EBV.[3]

Notable Studies[edit | edit source]

  • 2013, Randomized Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Valganciclovir in a Subset of Patients With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    "Abstract: There is no known treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Little is known about its pathogenesis. Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have been proposed as infectious triggers. Thirty CFS patients with elevated IgG antibody titers against HHV-6 and EBV were randomized 2:1 to receive valganciclovir (VGCV) or placebo for 6 months in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clinical endpoints aimed at measuring physical and mental fatigue included the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) scores, self-reported cognitive function, and physician-determined responder status. Biological endpoints included monocyte and neutrophil counts and cytokine levels. VGCV patients experienced a greater improvement by MFI-20 at 9 months from baseline compared to placebo patients but this difference was not statistically significant. However, statistically significant differences in trajectories between groups were observed in MFI-20 mental fatigue subscore (P = 0.039), FSS score (P = 0.006), and cognitive function (P = 0.025). VGCV patients experienced these improvements within the first 3 months and maintained that benefit over the remaining 9 months. Patients in the VGCV arm were 7.4 times more likely to be classified as responders (P = 0.029). In the VGCV arm, monocyte counts decreased (P < 0.001), neutrophil counts increased (P = 0.037) and cytokines were more likely to evolve towards a Th1-profile (P < 0.001). Viral IgG antibody titers did not differ between arms. VGCV may have clinical benefit in a subset of CFS patients independent of placebo effect, possibly mediated by immunomodulation and/or antiviral effect. Further investigation with longer treatment duration and a larger sample size is warranted."[3]
  • 2012, Response to valganciclovir in chronic fatigue syndrome patients with human herpesvirus 6 and Epstein-Barr virus IgG antibody titers.
    "Abstract: Valganciclovir has been reported to improve physical and cognitive symptoms in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with elevated human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) IgG antibody titers. This study investigated whether antibody titers against HHV-6 and EBV were associated with clinical response to valganciclovir in a subset of CFS patients. An uncontrolled, unblinded retrospective chart review was performed on 61 CFS patients treated with 900 mg valganciclovir daily (55 of whom took an induction dose of 1,800 mg daily for the first 3 weeks). Antibody titers were considered high if HHV-6 IgG ? 1:320, EBV viral capsid antigen (VCA) IgG ? 1:640, and EBV early antigen (EA) IgG ? 1:160. Patients self-rated physical and cognitive functioning as a percentage of their functioning prior to illness. Patients were categorized as responders if they experienced at least 30% improvement in physical and/or cognitive functioning. Thirty-two patients (52%) were categorized as responders. Among these, 19 patients (59%) responded physically and 26 patients (81%) responded cognitively. Baseline antibody titers showed no significant association with response. After treatment, the average change in physical and cognitive functioning levels for all patients was +19% and +23%, respectively (P < 0.0001). Longer treatment was associated with improved response (P = 0.0002). No significant difference was found between responders and non-responders among other variables analyzed. Valganciclovir treatment, independent of the baseline antibody titers, was associated with self-rated improvement in physical and cognitive functioning for CFS patients who had positive HHV-6 and/or EBV serologies. Longer valganciclovir treatment correlated with an improved response."[4]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Nakatomi, Yasuhito; Mizuno, Kei; Ishii, Akira; Wada, Yasuhiro; Tanaka, Masaaki; Tazawa, Shusaku; Onoe, Kayo; Fukuda, Sanae; Kawabe, Joji; Takahashi, Kazuhiro; Kataoka, Yosky; Shiomi, Susumu; Yamaguti, Kouzi; Inaba, Masaaki; Kuratsune, Hirohiko; Watanabe, Yasuyoshi (June 2014), "Neuroinflammation in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: An ¹¹C-(R)-PK11195 PET Study", Journal of Nuclear Medicine: Official Publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine, 55 (6): 945–950, doi:10.2967/jnumed.113.131045, ISSN 1535-5667, PMID 24665088 
  2. Ding, Zhaoqing; Mathur, Vidhu; Ho, Peggy P.; James, Michelle L.; Lucin, Kurt M.; Hoehne, Aileen; Alabsi, Haitham; Gambhir, Sanjiv S.; Steinman, Lawrence; Luo, Jian; Wyss-Coray, Tony (2014-02-10), "Antiviral drug ganciclovir is a potent inhibitor of microglial proliferation and neuroinflammation", The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 211 (2): 189–198, doi:10.1084/jem.20120696, ISSN 1540-9538, PMID 24493798 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Montoya, JG; Kogelnik, AM; Bhangoo, M; Lunn, MR; Flamand, L; Merrihew, LE; Watt, T; Kubo, JT; Paik, J; Desai, M (2013), "Randomized clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of valganciclovir in a subset of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.", Journal of Medical Virology, 85 (12): 2101-9, doi:10.1002/jmv.23713, PMID 23959519 
  4. Watt, T; Oberfoell, S; Balise, R; Lunn, MR; Kar, AK; Merrihew, LE; Bhangoo, MS; Montoya, JG (2012), "Response to valganciclovir in chronic fatigue syndrome patients with human herpesvirus 6 and Epstein-Barr virus IgG antibody titers", Journal of Medical Virology, 84 (12): 1967-1974, doi:10.1002/jmv.23411, PMID 23080504 

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From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history