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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Cytovene

Generic Name: ganciclovir (oral and injectable) (Pronunciation: gan SYE kloe veer)

What is ganciclovir (Cytovene)?

Ganciclovir is an antiviral drug. It slows the growth and spread of the cytomegalovirus.

Ganciclovir is used to treat and prevent infections caused by cytomegalovirus. This infection usually occurs in patients who have suppressed immune systems such as patients with AIDS and organ transplant patients.

Ganciclovir may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of ganciclovir (Cytovene)?

Serious side effects affecting the blood have been reported with the use of ganciclovir. Decreased levels of blood cells (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets) have occurred. Your doctor may monitor your blood with blood tests.

Stop taking ganciclovir and seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following serious side effects:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • paleness and fatigue that may be signs of anemia (a low level of red blood cells);
  • unusual bleeding or bruising;
  • fever or signs of infection; or
  • numbness or tingling in a part of your body.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take ganciclovir and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite;
  • increased sweating;
  • itching; or
  • decreased sperm production or infertility.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about ganciclovir (Cytovene)?

If you are injecting ganciclovir at home, your healthcare provider will give you detailed instructions on how and where to inject the medication. If you do not understand these directions, do not attempt to inject the medication. Contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.

Serious side effects affecting the blood have been reported with the use of ganciclovir. Decreased levels of blood cells (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets) have occurred. Your doctor may monitor your blood with blood tests.

Ganciclovir has caused birth defects in animals, and it is generally not recommended for use during pregnancy. Women should use an effective form of birth control during treatment with ganciclovir. Also, men should use a form of barrier contraception (e.g., condom) during and for at least 90 days following treatment with ganciclovir.

Take all of the ganciclovir that has been prescribed, even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may start to improve before the infection is completely treated.

Take oral ganciclovir with food to increase its absorption by the body.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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