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Ganciclovir (injection)

Generic Name: Ganciclovir Injection [Gan-SYE kloe veer]
Dosage Forms: intravenous injection powder (500 mg), intravenous solutions (2 mg/mL, NaCl 0.8%, 50 mg/mL).
Drug class: Purine nucleosides

What is Ganciclovir?

Ganciclovir is an antiviral medication used to treat retinitis CMV among people who have immunosuppression due to HIV or AIDS. Ganciclovir can also be used to prevent CMV in patients with immunosuppression caused by a transplant. Ganciclovir can be used in other ways not mentioned in this guide.

Side effects of Ganciclovir

In case of an allergic reaction, seek medical care immediately: difficulty breathing, hives or swelling to face, lips or throat.

Ganciclovir may cause serious adverse side effects. If any occur:

  • Low blood cell counts: fever, chills and tiredness. Mouth sores or skin sores may occur as symptoms.
  • Easy bruising. Unusual bleeding. Pale skin. cold hands and feet. Feeling light-headed.
  • Pain or burning after urinating;
  • A seizure;
  • Kidney problems include little or no urination and swelling of the feet or ankles. You may also feel tired or short of breath.

Older adults may experience more side effects.

Ganciclovir can cause a variety of side effects.

  • Loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain;
  • Low blood cell count, fever, and weakness
  • Headache;
  • Coughing and difficulty breathing
  • Increased sweating.

There may be other side effects. For medical advice on side effects, call your doctor. Reaching out to the FDA with side effect reports is easy - simply dial 1-800-FDA-1088!


Ganciclovir may weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections or bleeding. If you experience unusual bleeding or bruising, cold hands or feet, lightheadedness or shortness of breath, or any signs of infection, such as fever, chills or tiredness, or mouth or skin sores, or frequent or recurring illnesses, call your doctor. Ganciclovir may cause birth defects. Both women and men who use ganciclovir are advised to use birth control. Continue using birth control for at least 30 (for women) days or 90 (for men) days after the last dose. Ganciclovir can also have an effect on fertility, whether it is in a woman or a man.

Before you take this drug

This medicine should not be used if you have an allergy to ganciclovir or valacyclovir.

Inform your physician of any of the following issues:

  • Kidney disease (or dialysis if you have it);
  • Low blood cell count
  • Radiation treatment

Ganciclovir can increase your risk of certain cancers. You should ask your doctor if this is a risk. Ganciclovir may harm an unborn child or cause birth defects if either the mother or father uses this medicine.

  • Do not take ganciclovir while pregnant if you're a woman. Before starting treatment, you may need a negative pregnancy result. Birth control must be used during treatment and for at least thirty days post-dose.
  • Use effective birth control if you're a man and your partner can get pregnant. Continue to use birth control for at least 90 days after the last dose.
  • If you become pregnant while using ganciclovir, tell your doctor immediately.

Both men and women may be affected by this medicine. It is still important to use birth control to avoid pregnancy, as ganciclovir may harm the unborn child. Breastfeeding is not recommended for women with HIV/AIDS. Even if a baby was born free of HIV, their exposure can still occur through breast milk transmission. Do not administer the medicine to an infant without first consulting with their physician.

How to take Ganciclovir?

Read all the instructions or guides that come with your medication and follow the directions. Sometimes, your doctor will change the dose. You must take the medication exactly as it is prescribed. Ganciclovir can be given by infusion directly into the vein. Your healthcare provider may give you your first dose and teach you how to use the medication properly. Please read and follow all instructions for use that come with your medication. If you do not understand the instructions, don't use ganciclovir. If you have any questions, ask your pharmacist or doctor. Before using the powder, it must be diluted with a liquid. If you are using injections on your own, make sure that you know how to mix and store them. Only prepare your injection when you're ready to administer it. If the color of your medicine has changed or if it contains particles, do not use it. For new medication, call your pharmacist.

Ganciclovir is dangerous if you get it in your nose, mouth, or eyes. Wash your skin or rinse your eye with water if this happens. Your pharmacist can tell you how to safely dispose of spilled medicine. Even if you feel better quickly, continue to take this medication for the entire prescribed time. If you skip doses, your virus may become resistant to the medication. Ganciclovir alters the immune system's function, which can increase your risk for bleeding or infection. You will require frequent medical testing and eye exams. To keep your kidneys functioning properly, drink plenty of fluids when you use ganciclovir. Ganciclovir does not cure CMV. Everyone with CMV needs to be under the care and supervision of a physician. Store away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Store mixed medicines at room temperature. However, you must use them within 12 hours of mixing. Only use a needle or syringe once, and then store them in a "sharps container" that is puncture-proof. Be sure to follow local or state laws on how to properly dispose of the container. Keep the container out of the reach of pets and children.

What happens if I miss the dose?

If you miss a dosage, call your doctor to get instructions.

What happens if I overdose?

Call 1-800-222-1222 for poison help or seek immediate medical attention. Overdose symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, decreased urination, yellowing of the skin and eyes, seizures, or infections.

What should be avoided?

Do not drive or engage in hazardous activities until you have determined how ganciclovir affects you. You could have impaired reactions.

Interaction with other drug

Ganciclovir may harm your kidneys if you are also taking certain medications for cancer, osteoporosis, or organ transplant rejection. Other medicines that can cause kidney damage include high blood pressure, Advil, and Motrin (and Aleve).

Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications, including:

  • Didanosine;
  • Probenecid;
  • Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as cancer medicines or steroids,

This list is incomplete. Ganciclovir can be affected by other drugs, such as vitamins and herbs. This list does not include all drug interactions.



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