• Decrease font size
  • Return font size to normal
  • Increase font size
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Drugs

  • Print
  • Share
  • E-mail

FDA Drug Safety Podcast for Healthcare Professionals: New dosing recommendations to prevent potential Valcyte (valganciclovir) overdose in pediatric transplant patients

 Podcast Icon

Welcome, my name is Jennifer Shepherd, a pharmacist in the Division of Drug Information. On September 15, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration issued a Drug Safety Communication notifying healthcare professionals of new pediatric dosing recommendations for Valcyte, also known as valganciclovir hydrochloride, oral tablets and oral solution. This change is being made to prevent potential valganciclovir overdosing in children with low body weight, low body surface area, and below normal serum creatinine.

The revised dosing recommendations are being updated to include an upper limit on the calculated creatinine clearance using the modified Schwartz formula, which is used to calculate the pediatric dose of Valcyte.

Valganciclovir is an antiviral medication that can be effective for the prevention of cytomegalovirus, or CMV, disease in children 4 months to 16 years of age who have undergone a kidney or heart transplant. Cytomegalovirus is a member of a group of herpes-type viruses that can cause disease in different parts of the body. Patients with weakened immune systems, such as organ transplant patients, are particularly susceptible to CMV infection and must take medications such as Valcyte to prevent the disease.

Healthcare professionals should follow the updated pediatric dosing algorithm in the Valcyte label. The pediatric dose of Valcyte is based on body surface area (BSA) and creatinine clearance (CrCl) derived from a modified Schwartz formula. Under the previous dosing recommendations, pediatric patients with low body weight, low body surface area, and below normal serum creatinine could have a high calculated Schwartz creatinine clearance, resulting in a pediatric dose that approached the adult dose of 900 mg. This type of patient was not routinely observed in the clinical trials used to derive and confirm the pediatric dose, and may have been overdosed according to the previous dosing algorithm. As a result, FDA has updated the dosing algorithm so that when calculating the pediatric dose, a maximum value of 150 mL/min/1.73 m2 should be used in the formula, even if the calculated Schwartz creatinine clearance exceeds 150 mL/min/1.73 m2.  Furthermore, if the calculated Valcyte dose exceeds 900 mg, a dose of 900 mg should be given to the child.

The revised language in Section 2.3 of the label, Pediatric Patients, is as follows:

Prevention of CMV Disease: For pediatric patients 4 months to 16 years of age who have received a kidney or heart transplant, the recommended once daily dose of Valcyte starting within 10 days of transplantation until 100 days post-transplantation is based on body surface area (BSA) and creatinine clearance (CrCl) derived from a modified Schwartz formula, and is calculated using the following equation:

Pediatric Dose (mg) = 7 x BSA x CrCl (calculated using a modified Schwartz formula). If the calculated Schwartz creatinine clearance exceeds 150 mL/min/1.73 m2, then a maximum value of 150 mL/min/1.73m2 should be used in the equation.

Mosteller BSA (m2) = Square root of Height (cm) x Weight (kg)                                                                3600

Schwartz Creatinine Clearance (mL/min/1.73 m2) =      k x Height (cm)                                                                                    Serum Creatinine (mg/dL)

Where k =

0.45 for patients aged 4 months to < 1 year,

0.45 for patients aged 1 to < 2 years (note k value is 0.45 instead of the typical value of 0.55),

0.55 for boys aged 2 to < 13 years and girls aged 2 to 16 years, and

0.7 for boys aged 13 to 16 years.

In summary, the FDA has determined that adding an upper limit of 150 mL/min/1.73 m2 to the creatinine clearance calculated using the Schwartz formula for the determination of pediatric doses can help prevent the potential for Valcyte overdosing. If the calculated pediatric dose of Valcyte exceeds 900 mg, a dose of 900 mg should be given to the child.

At this time, FDA recommends that Healthcare Professionals be aware that:

  1. The dosing recommendations for Valcyte in children have changed. The dosing calculation can be found in the Data Summary and in the drug label.
  2. Possible valganciclovir overdose can occur in pediatric patients with low body weight, low body surface area, or below normal serum creatinine.
  3. When calculating the pediatric dose of Valcyte with the modified Schwartz formula, a maximum value of 150 mL/min/1.73 m2 should be used in the formula.
  4. When the calculated pediatric dose of Valcyte exceeds 900 mg, a dose of 900 mg should be administered to the child.
  5. Patients should be advised to contact a healthcare professional immediately if they experience signs and symptoms of valganciclovir overdose while taking Valcyte.
  6. Adverse events involving Valcyte can be reported to the FDA MedWatch program at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Thank you for listening. The FDA is committed to keeping healthcare professionals informed of the latest safety information. If you have questions about this safety communication, you can reach us at: druginfo@fda.hhs.gov.

 

Contact FDA

Toll Free
(855) 543-3784, or
(301) 796-3400
Human Drug Information

Division of Drug Information (CDER)

Office of Communications

Feedback Form

10001 New Hampshire Avenue

Hillandale Building, 4th Floor

Silver Spring, MD 20993