General description

The trade name for Fomivirsen is Vitravene, and it is a drug manufactured by Isis Pharmaceuticals. It is an antisense phosphorothioate oligonucleotide, a new class of drugs that uses a unique antisense mechanism to block the replication of mRNA. It is 21 nucleotides long, comprised of a sequence that is complementary to the mRNA transcribed from the the major immediate-early transcriptional unit of CMV.

Mechanism of Action

Fomivirsen inhibits the replication of human cytomegalovirus by binding to the complementary sequence of the mRNA transcribed from the major immediate-early transcriptional unit of CMV. Binding Fomivirsen in this region inhibits the synthesis of proteins that are essential for production of infectious CMV.


Treatment with Vitravene is indicated for the local treatment of CMV retinitis.  It is recommended for use by patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome who are intolerant or have contraindications to other treatments.


A  330mcg (0.5 mL) intravitreal injection on day 1 and day 15 of treatment, then once monthly.

Precautions & Potential Adverse Effects

For Ophthalmic use only! Some side effects that may occur are 1) ocular inflammation, which should respond to topical corticosteroids, and 2) increased intraocular pressure, which is usually transient.


Vitravene is contraindicated for anyone with known hypersensitivity to any part of its preparation.

For more information, go to

see reference #19 and #20

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