Ganciclovir Sodium

Warning

Ganciclovir can decrease bone marrow function. This serious, possibly life-threatening side effect may lead to a low number of blood cells such as red cells, white cells, and platelets. This effect can cause anemia, decrease your body's ability to fight an infection, and cause bleeding problems. Your doctor will check the results of your blood tests and adjust your treatment to reduce your risk for these side effects. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of anemia (such as unusual tiredness, fast breathing, pale skin, fast heartbeat), signs of infection (such as fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat), and signs of bleeding (such as easy bruising/bleeding, nose bleeds, bleeding gums, bloody/black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds).

Ganciclovir may reduce fertility in men and women. It may also harm an unborn baby. Talk to your doctor for more details.

Ganciclovir has caused tumors in laboratory animals. Although there is no information in humans, ganciclovir should be considered cancer-causing (carcinogenic). See also How to Use and Precautions sections.

Precautions

Before using ganciclovir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to valganciclovir or acyclovir; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, a low number of blood cells (red or white blood cells, platelets), radiation treatment.

This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or make it harder for you to think clearly. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can worsen these effects. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

Older adults may be at greater risk for kidney problems while using this drug.

Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Women of child-bearing age should have a pregnancy test before starting this medication. To prevent pregnancy, men with female partners should always use effective barrier protection (such as latex or polyurethane condoms) during all sexual activity during treatment and for at least 90 days after stopping the medication. Women of child-bearing age who are using ganciclovir should use reliable forms of birth control (such as birth control pills and condoms) during treatment and for at least 30 days after stopping the medication. Consult your doctor for more details.

It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding. If you have HIV, do not breast-feed because breast milk can transmit HIV.

Side Effects

See also Warning section.

Diarrhea, upset stomach, dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, shaking (tremors), or pain/redness/irritation at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (such as confusion, hallucinations), signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), seizures.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

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Drug information is selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First DataBank, Inc. This is a summary and does not contain all possible information about this product. For complete information about this product or your specific health needs, ask your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional if you have any questions about this product or your medical condition. This information is not intended as individual medical advice and does not substitute for the knowledge and judgment of your healthcare professional. This information does not contain any assurances that this product is safe, effective or appropriate for you.

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Information expires December 2020.