A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the safety and efficacy of oral ganciclovir for prophylaxis of cytomegalovirus disease in HIV-infected individuals

Carol L. Brosgart, Thomas A. Louis, David W. Hillman, Charles P. Craig, Beverly Alston, Evelyn Fisher, Donald I. Abrams, Roberta L. Luskin-Hawk, James H. Sampson, Douglas J. Ward, Melanie A. Thompson, Ramon A. Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Objective: Evaluate safety and efficacy of oral ganciclovir (GCV) for preventing cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in HIV-infected persons at high risk for CMV disease. Design: Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial in primary care clinics and private practice offices specializing in the care of people with HIV. Interventions were oral GCV (1000 mg three times/day) or placebo. Protocol amendment allowed switch to open-label oral GCV. Main outcome measures were confirmed CMV retinal or gastrointestinal mucosal disease, and death. The study enrolled 994 people co-infected with CMV and HIV, with at least one CD4 count recorded < 100 x 106 cells/l. Results: At study completion (15 months median follow-up), CMV event rates in the oral GCV and control groups were 13.1 and 14.6 per 100 person years, respectively, a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.92 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.65-1.27; P = 0.6]. At protocol amendment event rates were 12.7 and 15.0, respectively (HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.56-1.30; P = 0.45). At study completion, event rates for death were 26.6 and 32.0 (HR, 0.84; P = 0.09), and at protocol amendment were 18.9 and 19.6 (HR, 0.95; P = 0.78), respectively. At protocol amendment for the CMV endpoint, the oral GCV treatment effect was associated with baseline use of didanosine (ddI). For patients tailing ddI at randomization, HR was 7.48 (P = 0.02). For patients not taking ddI, HR was 0.62 (P = 0.04). These HR were statistically different (P = 0.0006). Conclusions: In our study, 3 g/day oral GCV did not significantly reduce CMV disease incidence, but there was a suggestion of a death-rate reduction. Furthermore, results suggest that oral GVC decreased risk of CMV disease in patients not prescribed ddI, and increased risk in those prescribed ddI. For the CMV endpoint, our study differs markedly from the only similar study, although for the death endpoint, a combined analysis of studies indicated significant reduction in death rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-277
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 12 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Disease progression
  • Herpesvirus
  • Opportunistic infections
  • Oral ganciclovir
  • Prophylaxis
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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