Optimizing ganciclovir and valganciclovir dosing regimens in pediatric patients with cytomegalovirus infection: a spotlight on therapeutic drug monitoring

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Expert review of clinical pharmacology




Cytomegalovirus; ganciclovir; individualized therapy; pediatric; therapeutic drug monitoring; valganciclovir


INTRODUCTION: Infants and immunocompromised children with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection have significant morbidity and mortality. Ganciclovir (GCV) and its oral prodrug valganciclovir (VGCV) are the major antiviral options of choice for the prophylaxis and treatment of CMV infection. However, with the currently recommended dosing regimens used in pediatric patients, large intra- and inter-individual variability of pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters and exposure are observed. AREAS COVERED: This review describes the PK and pharmacodynamic (PD) characteristics of GCV and VGCV in pediatrics. Moreover, the role of therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) and current clinical practice for GCV and VGCV dosing regimens optimization in pediatrics are discussed. EXPERT OPINION: GCV/VGCV TDM has shown the potential value to improve the benefit/risk ratio in pediatrics when using the therapeutic ranges derived from adults. However, well-designed studies are required to evaluate the relationship of TDM with clinical outcomes. Furthermore, studies to explore the children-specific dose-response-effect relationships will be helpful to facilitate the TDM practice. In the clinical setting, optimal sampling methods such as limited sampling strategies for pediatrics can be used in TDM and intracellular ganciclovir triphosphate may be used as an alternative TDM marker.