Comparison of treatment regimens for cytomegalovirus retinitis in patients with AIDS in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy

Douglas A. Jabs, Alka Ahuja, Mark Van Natta, J. P. Dunn, Steven Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the outcomes of different treatment approaches for cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Design: Prospective cohort study, the Longitudinal Study of the Ocular Complications of AIDS. Participants: A total of 250 patients with CMV retinitis and a CD4+ T-cell count <100 cells/μl (n = 221) at enrollment or incident retinitis (n = 29) during cohort follow-up. Methods: The effects of systemic therapy (vs. intraocular therapy only) on systemic outcomes and the effect of intraocular therapies (ganciclovir implants, intravitreal injections) on ocular outcomes were evaluated. Main Outcome Measures: Mortality, CMV dissemination, retinitis progression, and treatment side effects. Results: Regimens containing systemic anti-CMV therapy were associated with a 50% reduction in mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.3-0.7; P = 0.006), a 90% reduction in new visceral CMV disease (adjusted HR, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.04-0.4; P = 0.004), and among those with unilateral CMV retinitis at presentation, an 80% reduction in second eye disease (adjusted HR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.1-0.5; P = 0.0005) when compared with those using only intraocular therapy (implants or injections). Compared with systemic treatment only, regimens containing intravitreal injections had greater rates of retinitis progression (adjusted HR, 3.4; P = 0.004) and greater visual field loss (for loss of one half of the normal field, adjusted HR, 5.5; P < 0.01). Intravitreal implants were not significantly better than systemic therapy (adjusted HR for progression, 0.5; P = 0.26; adjusted HR for loss of one half of the visual field, 0.5; P = 0.45), but the sample size was small. Hematologic and renal side effect rates were similar between those groups with and without systemic anti-CMV therapy. The rate of endophthalmitis was 0.017 per eye-year (EY) (95% CI, 0.006-0.05) among those treated with intravitreal injections and 0.01 per EY (95% CI, 0.002-0.04) among those treated with an implant. Conclusions: In the HAART era, systemic anti-CMV therapy, while there is immune compromise, seems to provide benefits in terms of longer survival and decreased CMV dissemination. Financial Disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1262-1270
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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