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valganciclovir (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking valganciclovir (Valcyte)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to valganciclovir or ganciclovir (Cytovene).

Valganciclovir (Valcyte) and ganciclovir (Cytovene) must never be taken together.

To make sure you can safely take valganciclovir, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • liver disease;
  • a blood cell disorder (such as anemia or low levels of platelets in your blood); or
  • if you are receiving radiation treatment or drugs that weaken your immune system (such as cancer medicine or steroids).

FDA pregnancy category C. Valganciclovir has caused birth defects in animal studies. Do not take this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control while you are using this medication and for at least 30 days after your treatment ends.

HIV or AIDS can be passed to the baby if the mother is not properly treated during pregnancy. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection while you are pregnant. Valganciclovir will not prevent congenital (inherited) CMV in a newborn baby.

If a man fathers a child while using valganciclovir, the baby may have birth defects. Use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment. Continue using condoms for at least 90 days after you stop using valganciclovir.

This medication can affect fertility (your ability to have children), whether you are a man or a woman.

You should not breast-feed while you are taking valganciclovir. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast-feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.

How should I take valganciclovir (Valcyte)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take valganciclovir with food.

Valganciclovir tablets are for adults or children, but valganciclovir liquid is only for children. Adults should not use the oral solution or the dose may not be correct.

Shake valganciclovir liquid well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Do not crush or break a valganciclovir tablet. Do not use a tablet that has been accidentally broken. The medicine from a crushed or broken pill can be dangerous if it gets in your eyes or on your skin. If this occurs, wash your skin with soap and water or rinse your eyes with water. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to safely handle and dispose of a broken tablet or capsule.

Take this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.

Use valganciclovir regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Valganciclovir can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your treatment may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Visit your doctor regularly.

You should have your eyes checked at least every 4 to 6 weeks while you are using valganciclovir. Your doctor may want you to have eye exams more often.

Store valganciclovir tablets at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Store valganciclovir liquid in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Throw away any unused after 49 days.

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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