Ganciclovir: Introduction, Prescription, Intake, Side Effects, Doses, Precautions and Interactions  

What is Ganciclovir?

Ganciclovir is a drug used to prevent diseases caused by CMV. CMV (cytomegalovirus) is a virus that can cause major infections in the body.

CMV’s common target is eye which causes CMV retinitis.

This antiviral medicine is used to treat CMV retinitis in people who have received any organ transplant or bone marrow transplant.

CMV disease is capable of causing blindness in patients. People suffer from immunosuppression after organ transplant, HIV or AIDS.

This is the reason that the body gets easily infected by the virus.

Ganciclovir works by slowing the growth of CMV virus in the body.

It should be noted that Ganciclovir is not the cure for CMV diseases.

What are the common conditions in which Ganciclovir prescribed?

Ganciclovir is given to a person who is infected by CMV virus. CMV can cause blindness in the patient.

Therefore, Ganciclovir is used to lower the risk of any such condition by reducing the infection in the body.

How should I take Ganciclovir?

Ganciclovir is infused into veins by the help of injection.

A patient should follow the instructions mentioned in the prescription. The doctor can change the dose depending on the patient’s interaction and recovery with the medicine.

You will be given this medicine by a professional healthcare provider. You will need to visit the clinic or the hospital to receive your dose.

However, you can take this medicine at your home as well. You just need to learn it from your medical professional.

Do not take the medicine on your own if you are not positive about it.

The medicine comes in the form of a powder which is further mixed in a diluent. Taking this medicine can be a little hectic with all the need for preparation.

That is why, if you don’t understand how to take the medicine, do not take it on your own. Do not try to experiment with the medicine. Visit a clinic or ask an experienced person to give you your dose.

You should prepare your medicine and fill it in injection only when you are ready to take it. Do not leave it in open.

Do not use the medicine if it has changed its colour or has particles in it.

It takes almost an hour to infuse this medicine into the vein. Do not change the dosin unless prescribed by your doctor. Otherwise, you have risks of side effects.

Handle the medicine with care. Do not let the medicine enter your mouth, nose or eyes. You can choose to wear gloves and mask while taking the injection.

You must drink plenty of water during the infusion unless advised against by your doctor.

Use a clean needle and syringe. Do not reuse an already used needle. Dispose the used materials carefully.

Store the medicine in a cool and dry place. Do not let sunlight or heat reach it.

Keep the medicine unreachable of children.

You will need to frequently get medical check-up of your eyes and kidneys.

Stay in regular contact of your doctor.

When you should not take Ganciclovir?

You should thoroughly talk to your doctor about your medical history. It is important for your doctor to know about possible drug interaction, side effects and risk to minimize it.

If you ever had liver disease, low blood cell count or radiation treatment, your doctor should know about it.

Under these situations, your doctor might advise you against taking Ganciclovir.

If you are pregnant, you must not take this medicine. If you plan to become pregnant during medication, talk to your doctor about it.

The medicine can harm the baby, your doctor might advise you against any such planning.

Use effective birth control even after your last dose of Ganciclovir. Take birth control for at least 60 days for women and 90 days for men.

Do not breastfeed your newborn while being on medication.

What are the possible side effects of Ganciclovir?

The first thing that you should look out for while taking this medicine is whether you have an allergy to it.

The signs of an allergy can be breathing problem, swelling in certain parts of the body and hives.

Ganciclovir can have some serious side effects. Seek medical emergency if you have:

  • Burning urination
  • Seizure
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in knee
  • Mouth sore
  • Fever
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Pale skin

Some common side effects include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Excess sweating

This is not the complete list of side effects of using Ganciclovir. If you feel anything unusual in your body, talk to your doctor about it.

What to do if I miss the dose?

If you happen to miss your dose of Ganciclovir, talk to your doctor about further actions.

Take special care of not overdosing your medicine.

However, if you still overdose yourself, seek poison helpline number.

Common Drug Interaction with Ganciclovir.

Drug to drug interaction can sometimes have severe side effects. It can harm the body and deteriorate the performance of medicine in your body.

If you are taking any herbal medicine or vitamins and supplements, you should tell your doctor about it.

Some common drugs that might interact with Ganciclovir are drugs that weaken the immune system, Didanosine and Probenecid.

Bottom Line

Ganciclovir is an antiviral medicine which is used to prevent CMV retinitis in people who have received any organ or bone marrow transplant.

This medicine is not a cure for CMV diseases.

You should take this medicine after accessing all your medical health condition.

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