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Generic Name

  • Ganciclovir (oral and injectable).

Brand Names

  • Cytovene.

General Information

Ganciclovir is an antiviral. It is used to treat the symptoms of cytomegalovirus infection of the eyes in people whose immune system is not working fully. This includes patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Ganciclovir will not cure this eye infection, but it may help to keep the symptoms from becoming worse. It is also used to help prevent cytomegalovirus infection in patients who receive organ or bone marrow transplants, as well as in patients with advanced human immunodeficiency virus infection. Ganciclovir may cause some serious side effects, including anemia and other blood problems. Before you begin treatment with ganciclovir, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it. Breast-feeding should be stopped during treatment with this medicine because ganciclovir may cause serious unwanted effects in nursing babies. Ganciclovir delivered directly into the eye is also effective against cytomegalovirus. It is administered either by injection or by implanting devices in the eye that slowly release ganciclovir.

Ganciclovir Dosage

  • The dose of ganciclovir will be different for different patients.
  • Adults and teenagers - 1000 milligrams three times a day with food; or 500 mg six times a day, every three hours with food, during waking hours.
  • Children - Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Side Effects of Ganciclovir

Some common side effects reported with this medicine include:

  • Sore throat.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising. 
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Heartburn.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Abnormal dreams.

Warnings and precautions before taking Ganciclovir

  • Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to acyclovir or ganciclovir.
  • Breast-feeding should be stopped during treatment with this medicine because ganciclovir may cause serious unwanted effects in nursing babies.
  • This drug should not be used during pregnancy.
  • This medicine may reduce your ability to drive or operate machinery safely. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medicine affects you and you are sure it won't affect your performance.
  • The capsules should be taken with food. Ganciclovir capsules should not be opened or crushed.


  • Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.
  • Symptoms of a ganciclovir overdose include seizures, diarrhea, kidney damage (decreased urine production), liver damage (yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain), and bone marrow damage (paleness, increased chance of infection, fever and chills).



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