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Application of Ganciclovir Injection

Brand Name(s): Cytovene Injection

Generic Name Ganciclovir Injection

What is ganciclovir injection?

GANCICLOVIR (Cytovene® IV) is an antiviral drug used for cytomegalovirus (also called CMV). It is used to treat infections like CMV retinitis (viral eye infection). It is also used to prevent CMV infections in patients with weak immune systems. Generic ganciclovir injections are available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive ganciclovir?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • decreased bone marrow function
  • kidney disease or decreased kidney function
  • undergoing radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to ganciclovir, acyclovir, famciclovir, valacyclovir, valganciclovir, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Ganciclovir is for slow infusion into a vein; usually administered over 1 to 2 hours, or for injection into the eye. Infusions and injections of ganciclovir are usually given in the hospital or clinic, or by a home health-care nurse.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Notify your prescriber or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What drug(s) may interact with ganciclovir?

  • didanosine, ddI
  • mycophenolate
  • probenecid
  • zidovudine, ZDV

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from receiving ganciclovir?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • low blood counts: ganciclovir may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
  • signs of infection: fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
  • signs of decreased platelets or bleeding: bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
  • signs of decreased red blood cells: unusual weakness or tiredness, fainting spells, lightheadedness
  • mouth sores
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • skin rash, itching
  • tingling or pain in hands or feet

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • heartburn
  • nausea, vomiting
  • sedation
  • stomach pain
  • unstable while walking

What should I watch for while taking ganciclovir?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need regular blood checks. Ganciclovir is not a cure, and repeat courses of the medication are commonly needed to prevent or treat reactivation of the virus. Long-term drug use may be necessary. If you have CMV retinitis have your ophthalmologist check your eyes regularly (about every 4—6 weeks).

Ganciclovir may increase your risk for other infections or to bruise or bleed. Call your prescriber or health care professional if you have a fever, chills, sore throat or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat these symptoms yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick. Call your prescriber or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding. Be careful not to cut, bruise or injure yourself because you may get an infection and bleed more than usual.

While you are receiving ganciclovir you must take plenty of fluids. Drink several glasses of water throughout the day. You may need to have an intravenous infusion of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Ganciclovir may harm your unborn baby or, in men, decrease sperm production. You should contact your prescriber as soon as possible if you believe or suspect you or your partner has become pregnant while you are taking ganciclovir. Both men and women must use effective birth control continuously while taking ganciclovir. Men should continue to use a condom for at least 90 days after stopping ganciclovir therapy. Do not nurse your baby while you take ganciclovir.

Until you know how ganciclovir makes you feel, do not drive, operate machinery or do any other tasks that require you to be alert.

Where can I keep my medicine?

This does not apply. You will not need to store this medication at home.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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