Antiviral drug limits heart disease.
The drug, ganciclovir, is prescribed routinely for organ recipients because it controls cytomegalovirus, a form of herpes virus that can cause dangerous infections in people taking immune-suppressing drugs. Innocuous in healthy people, cytomegalovirus infection after transplant can lead years later to heart disease in heart recipients, says study coauthor Hannah A. Valantine of Stanford University School of Medicine.
In the test, 76 heart-transplant patients received ganciclovir for about a month after surgery, while 73 others received an inert substitute. During the first year, 14 were excluded from each group for reasons such as heart attacks and transplant rejection.
Ganciclovir had a long-term effect on patients who weren't getting drugs called calcium-channel blockers. These medications limit coronary artery spasms and slow progression of atherosclerosis. Of 28 who had received ganciclovir but not calcium-channel blockers, only 7 had heart disease 4 to 7 years after their operations. Of 25 patients who received neither, 13 had heart disease during those years, Valantine and her colleagues find. Ganciclovir seemed to impart little benefit for those who got calcium-channel blockers.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Aug 7, 1999|
|Previous Article:||Thyroid cancer rose after Chernobyl.|
|Next Article:||Ion collider, doomsday fears rev up.|