CMV – gastroenteritis/colitis : Treatment

Treatment

Treatment is meant to control the infection and relieve symptoms.

Medicines to fight the virus (antiviral medications) are prescribed. The medicines may be given through a vein (IV), and sometimes by mouth, for several weeks. The most commonly used medicines are ganciclovir and valganciclovir.

In some cases, long-term therapy may be needed. A medication called CMV hyperimmune globulin may be used when other drugs don’t work.

Other medications may include:

  • Drugs to prevent or reduce diarrhea
  • Pain killers (analgesics)

Nutritional supplements or intravenous nutrition (putting nutrients directly into the blood stream) may be used to treat muscle loss due to the disease.

Prognosis (Expectations)

In people with healthy immune systems, symptoms usually go away without treatment.

Symptoms are more severe in those with weakened immune systems. The outcome depends upon the severity of the immune system deficiency and the severity of the CMV infection.

People with AIDS may have a worse outcome than those with weakened immune systems due to another reason. CMV infection typically affects the entire body, even if patients only have gastrointestinal symptoms. How well a patient does depends on how well the antiviral drugs work.

Complications

The drugs used to fight the virus may cause side effects. The type of side effect depends on the specific drug used. For example, the drug ganciclovir may lower your white blood cell count. Another drug, foscarnet, may lead to kidney problems.

Calling Your Health Care Provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of CMV gastroenteritis/colitis.


Review Date : 11/17/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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