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Ganciclovir is an antiviral drug that is used in preventing a disease caused by the cytomegalovirus in people having a suppressed immune system (people who have had organ or bone marrow transplants). Ganciclovir can also be used in treating people who have a weakened immune system (including AIDS patients) having CMV retinitis (an eye infection resulting from CMV). CMV can cause serious body infections including CMV retinitis. Ganciclovir works by slowing CMV growth, and, therefore, helps in reducing blindness, controlling CMV retinitis and prevents the spread to other areas of the body. Ganciclovir cannot cure CMV but it can control the infection and symptoms.
- Cytomegalovirus infections
Dosage of Ganciclovir depends on the individual and the condition being treated. Ganciclovir should be taken as instructed by a medical professional. Patients requesting Ganciclovir for home use should be taught all the usage instructions. Below you will find a typical dosage of Ganciclovir.
- Ganciclovir is given by injection into a vein, normally over a period of 1 hour. At the start, Ganciclovir should be given after every 12 hours for the first few weeks, and then once daily (either 5-7 times) in a week or as instructed by a doctor.
- Usual adult dose for CMV retinitis is 5 mg/kg. The usual adult dose for CMV prophylaxis is 1000 mg taken orally 3 times every day with food
- Patients are advised to take plenty of fluids while using Ganciclovir unless instructed otherwise.
- Patients should continue using Ganciclovir even if they feel better. This is because the symptoms may start improving before the infection has been completely treated.
Ganciclovir Side Effects
Ganciclovir has been reported to have serious side effects that affect the blood. In some cases, patients have experienced decreased levels of blood cells (white blood cells, platelets, red blood cells). Therefore, a patient's blood needs to be regularly monitored to ensure the blood cells are maintained at the normal levels. Below you will find a list of side effects associated with Ganciclovir. Note that not all possible side effects are listed here. Common Ganciclovir side effects:
- Decreased appetite
- Increased sweating
- Infertility or reduced sperm production
Serious Ganciclovir side effects:
- Numbness or tingling in a section of the patient's body
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Fatigue or paleness that can be a sign of anemia
- An allergic reaction
- Signs of infection or fever
Ganciclovir can interact with some drugs; therefore, it is important for patients to inform their doctors about all the drugs in use. Drug interactions can change how ganciclovir works or increase the risk of serious side effects. Patients should always consult with their doctors before using other drugs while using Ganciclovir. Some drugs that can interact with Ganciclovir include the following. Note that not all possible interactions are listed here.