ganciclovir - oral, Cytovene (cont.)

USES: Ganciclovir is an anti-viral drug. It is used to prevent disease caused by a virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV) in people with advanced HIV disease (AIDS) and in people who have received organ transplants. CMV disease can lead to serious infections in the body, including an infection in the eye, called CMV retinitis, that can cause blindness. Ganciclovir works by slowing the growth of the CMV virus. It helps prevent the spread of infection to other areas of the body. It also helps control CMV retinitis and decrease the risk of blindness.Ganciclovir is also used to treat people with weakened immune systems (including people with AIDS) who have CMV retinitis. Ganciclovir injection is given first to stabilize the disease and then usually continued to control the symptoms of the disease (maintenance treatment). However, in some people, ganciclovir is given by mouth for maintenance treatment when the injection cannot be used. Use of the oral form of ganciclovir instead of the injection may increase the rate of progression of CMV retinitis.Ganciclovir is not a cure for CMV disease. Some people may have worsening CMV retinitis even with treatment. Therefore, it is important to have your eyes checked regularly by your doctor.OTHER This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.This drug may also be used to help prevent CMV disease in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy treatment.

HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth with food, usually 3 to 6 times daily or as directed by your doctor. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not open, crush, or chew the capsules.Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication unless your doctor directs you otherwise.Wash your hands well after handling this drug. Avoid direct contact with the contents of the capsules (such as getting the contents on your skin, in the mucous membranes and eyes, or breathing in the powder). Avoid contact with broken or crushed capsules. If contact should occur, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. If this medication gets in your eyes, rinse them thoroughly with plain water.Do not throw this medication in the garbage or down the drain. Special disposal is required for this medication. Contact your pharmacist for more information.The dosage and length of treatment is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.Continue taking this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not change your dose or stop taking it even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Changing or skipping your dose without approval from your doctor may increase the risk of side effects or make the infection worse.Do not take valganciclovir instead of ganciclovir on your own without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. The effects and the dosages of ganciclovir and valganciclovir are not equal.Keep all medical and laboratory appointments.Tell your doctor if your condition worsens (such as worsening vision).

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pill Finder Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Back to Medications Index



Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!