A drug called ganciclovir is given to lung transplant patients to protect against a life-threatening virus that is common after transplantation.
Ganciclovir reduces mortality due to the virus from 34 percent to between 3 and 6 percent. But between 5 percent and 10 percent of patients infected with the virus have strains that are resistant to the drug.
A Loyola University Medical Center study found that such resistance may occur more frequently in cystic fibrosis patients. These patients were found to have insufficient levels of the drug in their bloodstream, enabling the virus to continually replicate. This in turn may increase the chance that mutations will occur and result in drug resistance.
The study suggests that cystic fibrosis patients should be monitored to ensure there are therapeutic levels of ganciclovir in their bodies, said James Gagermeier, MD, first author of the study. The study is published online ahead of print in the journal Transplant Infectious Disease.