Utility of Antiviral Therapy for Cytomegalovirus in the Setting of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

According to a recent study (Jones A et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015; 13: 949-55), the tissue density of cytomegalovirus (CMV) is an important determinant of antiviral response in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

In this case-control study, the authors identified 68 samples from 1111 patients with IBD that were found to contain CMV.  Adequate data was available for 50, including 16 with high-grade CMV (all treated) and 34 with low-grade CMV (20 treated).  High-grade CMV was defined as biopsies with 5 or more inclusions.  Treatment included ganciclovir, valganciclovir or both; 33 of 36 treated patients received at least 21 days of therapy.

Key findings:

  • Patients with high-grade CMV showed significant benefit from treatment: they had the best outcomes with “only 33% undergoing surgery by 1 year after biopsy.”
  • All patients with low-grade CMV, treated or not, were more likely to undergo surgery than those with high-grade CMV, with HR of 2.13.  However, the treated low-grade CMV had a lower risk of surgery (HR 0.39) compared with the untreated group.  73% of the untreated low-grade CMV group had undergone resection by 1 year after biopsy.

The authors note the many limitations of the study.  Requests to rule out CMV were not done uniformly but “usually reflected refractoriness of steroids or failure to respond to escalation of therapy.”

Bottomline: In those with high-grade CMV, the likelihood of responding to antiviral therapy was much higher than in patients with low-grade CMV; however, treatment in all patients with CMV inclusions was associated with improved outcomes.

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Bird in Flowers

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2 thoughts on “Utility of Antiviral Therapy for Cytomegalovirus in the Setting of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  1. Pingback: IBD Updates -January 2017 | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: CMV in IBD: Tissue Matters | gutsandgrowth

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