Vistide (Cidofovir)


Vistide (Cidofovir) is…

an antiviral drug FDA approved for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in patients with AIDS. (Cytomegalovirus is a member of the herpesvirus family. A subset of CFS patients have activated herpes infections (HHV-6, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and CMV.) (Vistide has been nicknamed the ‘the Hammer’ because of its powerful effects. ).

As of April, 2013, the website listed 30 Vistide trials in disorders ranging from transplants, papillomatosis, CMV retinitis, Karposi’s sarcoma, cervical cancer, veneral warts and even in a topical solution, prevention of hair growth.

Vistide has been used off-label in the treatment of a variety of viruses including human papillomavirus, BHK virus, herpes simplex virus, vaccinia virus. A case of intractable HHV-6B infection causing treatment resistant diarrhea in a pediatric cancer patient resolved with Vistide.

Vistide or Cidofovir is an effective but its use has been limited by the need for a complex infusion process, the possibility of kidney damage and the frequent monitoring the drug requires.  Efforts to produce an easier to handle drug are underway with at least 4 Cidofovir derivatives or similar drugs under investigation. 

CMX001 – The Future of Vistide?

The pharmaceutical company, Chimerix is developing a lipid-based form of Vistide which may greatly increase its effectiveness and reduce the possible side effects.

Vistide May Be Useful in CFS Because..

it can treat herpesvirus infections that a subset of patients may have.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Studies

At the 2013 Paris HHV6 Conference Dr Peterson reported 70% of severely ill ME/CFS patients with HHV6 and/or cytomegalovirus infections HCMV) significantly improved on Vistide, with many returning to work. Serious side effects were not seen. Peterson called for a multi-center trial to further explore efficacy and mechanisms of actions in these patients.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Doctors Report 

Dr. Peterson has been using Vistide in a select group of patients since at least 2005. At a lecture in Sweden he referred to a severely ill patient who returned to complete health after Vistide.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Patients Report

Check out one patients successful Vistide treatment here. Click her for a discussion on Vistide and CFS.


Reportedly very costly but can be covered by insurance.


Vistide is administered with Probenecid. According to the manufacturer intraveous infusions of Vistide are given once a week for the first two weeks and then once every two weeks thereafter.

Possible Side Effects

Kidney problems are the main concern with Vistide. Kidney functioning using a routine urinalysis must be determined 48 hours prior to each dose of Vistide. Patients with increased urine creatinine levels are not candidates for Vistide therapy.

The manufacturer warns that cases of acute kidney failure resulting in the need for dialysis or death have occurred from as few as one or two doses of Vistide. In some cases kidney functioning did not return to normal following discontinuation of Vistide. Evidence of renal toxicity necessitating a reduction of dose is not uncommon.

Other Side Effects

In animal studies Vistide was shown to have cancer causing properties, to be able to cause birth defects and reduce sperm counts. One rodent trial was closed early because of the obvious presence of adenocarcinoma’s. Vistide also commonly reduces white blood cell levels, alters pH levels, and causes fever and other symptoms. In clinical trials Vistide caused at least temporary problems with nausea, vomiting, fever and/or kidney dysfunction (proteinuria) in over 50% of patients and many other symptoms (including ironically infection) were reported. Twenty-five percent of patients in one clinical trial withdrew because of adverse events.

Dr. Peterson reported no serious side effects in a retrospective look at 65 patients treated over a seven year period.

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