PURPOSE. To describe the use of high doses of intravitreal ganciclovir combined with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. METHODS. Thirteen HIV-infected patients (18 eyes) with active CMV retinitis (83.3% in zone 1 and 38.4% resistant) participated in this prospective interventional case series. Patients were treated with high dose intravitreal ganciclovir (5.0 mg/0.1 mL once a week) in combination with HAART therapy. Intravitreal injections were discontinued once CMV retinitis healed if there was a significant increase in CD4+ count (any increase of ≥50 cells/μL to levels over 100 cells/μL sustained for at least 3 months). Mean follow-up was 15.6 months. Main outcome measures included assessment of visual acuity and retinal inflammation (CMV retinitis activity). A matched historical control group of 20 eyes (15 patients) with CMV retinitis treated with systemic ganciclovir (intravenous [induction] and oral [maintenance]) was included. RESULTS. Complete regression of the retinitis was obtained with high doses of intravitreal ganciclovir in 88.8% of eyes (two patients died during follow-up) at a mean of 4.5 weeks (2 to 8 weeks). Visual acuity improved two or more lines in 61.1% of eyes. No ganciclovir retinal toxicity was identified. Three eyes presented CMV retinitis reactivation at a mean of 25.6 days after their last injection. Complications (33.3%) included retinal detachment (RD; 3 eyes), immune recovery uveitis (IRU; 2 eyes), and endophthalmitis (1 eye). In our control group complete regression of the retinitis was obtained in 100% of eyes at a mean of 4 weeks (3 to 7 weeks). However, 12 eyes (60%) presented with CMV retinitis relapse at a mean of 29 days (21 to 32 days) after initiating oral ganciclovir (maintenance). Complications included RD (7 eyes, 35%) and IRU (3 eyes, 15%). Severe neutropenia occurred in 2 patients (13%). CONCLUSIONS. High doses of intravitreal ganciclovir (5.0 mg) once a week in combination with HAART therapy is effective to control CMV retinitis, and may be discontinued after CMV retinitis has healed if immune reconstitution with a significant increase in CD4+ count has occurred.
- Cytomegalovirus retinitis
- HIV-infected patients
- High-dose intravitreal ganciclovir
- Highly active antiretroviral therapy
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