Ganciclovir

Generic Name: Ganciclovir

  • What is Ganciclovir?

    Ganciclovir is a medicine used to prevent cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis (eye disease that involves damage to the layer of tissue in the back of the eye called the retina) in patients receiving an organ transplant and in patients with advanced HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection who are at risk of developing CMV. It is also used as a maintenance treatment of stable CMV in patients with a weak immune system, including those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), who were treated with ganciclovir intravenously (through a vein in the arm).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Ganciclovir?

    Ganciclovir can affect your blood cells and bone marrow, which may cause serious and life-threatening problems. Ganciclovir can lower your white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets (type of blood cells that form clots to help stop bleeding). Your doctor will perform regular blood tests to check your blood cells while you are taking ganciclovir. Based on these tests, your doctor may change your dose or tell you to stop taking this medication.

    Ganciclovir can cause birth defects. Do not take ganciclovir if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while you are taking this medication. If you are of childbearing age, you should use an effective birth control while you are taking ganciclovir. Men should use a condom during ganciclovir treatment and for 90 days after discontinuing treatment.

    Ganciclovir is not a cure for CMV retinitis. You can still get CMV during or after treatment. You must continue to have regular eye examinations at a minimum of every 4-6 weeks while being treated.

  • Who should not take Ganciclovir?

    Do not take ganciclovir if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Ganciclovir?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with ganciclovir. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of bone marrow problems, blood disorders, organ transplant, kidney problems, or are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Maintenance Treatment of CMV

    Adults: The recommended dose is 1000 milligrams (mg) 3 times a day or 500 mg 6 times a day (every 3 hours during waking hours).

    Prevention of CMV

    Adults: The recommended dose is 1000 mg 3 times a day.

    If you have kidney impairment, your doctor will adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take Ganciclovir?

    Take ganciclovir exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take extra doses or take more often without asking your doctor.

    Take ganciclovir with food.

  • What should I avoid while taking Ganciclovir?

    Do not become pregnant while you are taking ganciclovir.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Ganciclovir?

    If ganciclovir is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining ganciclovir with the following: adriamycin, amphotericin B, dapsone, didanosine, flucytosine, imipenem-cilastatin, pentamidine, probenecid, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, vinblastine, vincristine, or zidovudine.

  • What are the possible side effects of Ganciclovir?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: abdominal pain, blood disorders, chills, diarrhea, fever, gas, infections, itchiness, nausea, nerve problems, rash, sweating, vomiting

  • Can I receive Ganciclovir if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of ganciclovir during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Ganciclovir?

    If you miss a dose of ganciclovir, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Ganciclovir?

    Store at room temperature.