Researchers looked through the medical charts of people with ME/CFS who had high antibody titers for human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and had been treated with valganciclovir. Of 61 patients, they found that 32 of them improved their functionality by at least 30%.
Of these 32, 59% had physical-symptom improvement and 81% had cognitive-symptom improvement. Improvements did not appear to be linked to baseline titers. The longer people remained on the medication, the more they improved.
While valganciclovir may be an effective treatment for some, it appears to work for only a fraction of people with ME/CFS. On top of that, at least so far, we can't say what's different about the ones it works for.
Look again at the numbers:
- Of 61 people, the drug helped 32. That's 52%.
- Of those 32, 19 responded physically. That's 59% of the 32, but only 31% of the total.
- Cognitive response was better - 26 people, which is 81% of the responder group and 43% of the total.
And these are only patients who have high HHV-6 or EBV titers, and many people with ME/CFS don't.
What this means is that if you have high titers of these viruses, you've got about a 50/50 chance of improving on valganciclovir. And, if it helps, it's much more likely to have a cognitive effect than a physical one.
When considering drug treatment, it's important for you and your doctor to consider your test results, symptoms, and treatment goals. You also need to weigh the drug's potential risks against the benefits.
This isn't to say you shouldn't try this drug if it seems to be appropriate for you. However, it's important to be realistic about the potential of the treatments we try.
Have you tried valganciclovir? Did it work for you? Are your HHV-6 or EBV titers high? Have other anti-virals helped? Leave your comments below!