Introduction into Ganciclovir Oral

Brand Name(s): Cytoveve Capsules

Generic Name Ganciclovir Oral

What are ganciclovir capsules?

GANCICLOVIR (Cytovene®) is used to treat viral infections caused by cytomegalovirus (CMV), including CMV retinitis (viral eye infection) and to prevent CMV infections in patients compromised immune systems. Generic ganciclovir capsules are available.

What should my health care professional know before I take ganciclovir capsules?

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 take this medicine?

Take ganciclovir capsules by mouth with food. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow capsules with a drink of water; do not crush or open the capsules. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your health care professional even if you think your condition is better. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

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?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

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 taking 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 capsules?

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?

Keep out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

(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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