Treats or prevents infections caused by cytomegalovirus (CMV).
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to ganciclovir, acyclovir (Zovirax®), famciclovir (Famvir®), or valacyclovir (Valtrex®).
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
- A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. It may also be given by a home health caregiver.
- You may be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine. Never share your medicine with anyone.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose.
- Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
- If you miss more than one dose, call your doctor or caregiver for instructions.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a refrigerator. Do not freeze. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before it is time for your next dose and allow it to warm to room temperature in a clean, dry place.
- Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
- Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using didanosine (Videx®), zidovudine (Retrovir®), probenecid (Benemid®), imipenem-cilastatin (Primaxin®), dapsone, pentamidine, flucytosine (Ancobon®), amphotericin B, cotrimoxazole (Septra®, Bactrim®), or any medicine to treat cancer.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- This medicine can cause birth defects if it is used by the mother while she is pregnant or by the father when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
- Use two forms of birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 90 days after your treatment ends. This is very important whether you are a man or a woman.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you have kidney disease or are on kidney dialysis.
- Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
- If you plan to have children, talk with your doctor before using this medicine. Some men and women using this medicine have become infertile (unable to have children).
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
- Ganciclovir does not cure CMV eye infections, but it may keep the infection from getting worse. If you have a CMV eye infection, you will need to have your eyes tested regularly while taking ganciclovir.
- If your symptoms of CMV get worse while you are taking this medicine, contact your doctor.
- This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Confusion, extreme weakness or tiredness
- Fever, chills, or sore throat, or flu-like symptoms
- Pain or swelling where the IV is given
- Severe skin rash
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite
- Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013