Meds and you

27 September 2013

Ganciclovir

Ganciclovir is an antiviral drug. Antiviral drugs are used to prevent or cure a disease caused by a virus, by inhibiting viral growth.

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Ganciclovir is the active ingredient of Cymevene (Nappi Code: 793175-011).

General information
Ganciclovir is an antiviral drug. Antiviral drugs are used to prevent or cure a disease caused by a virus, by inhibiting viral growth or by interfering with the ability of the virus to multiply.

In South Africa ganciclovir is registered for the treatment of infection with cytomegalovirus immune-compromised people, or to prevent infection with this virus in those who have had liver or kidney transplants.

Ganciclovir is not a cure for viral infections, but simply slows the virus down while allowing your immune system time to catch up.

How does ganciclovir work?
Ganciclovir prevents the relevant virus form multiplying by inhibiting enzymes needed for viral DNA replication in cells.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: ganciclovir is available as an injection
What does it do? ganciclovir is an anti-viral drug
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: low
Is ganciclovir available as a generic? no
Is ganciclovir available on prescription only? yes

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you are allergic to any other antiviral medication

  • you have a liver or kidney disease

  • if you are anaemic

  • if you have a low white blood cell count

  • if you are planning to fall pregnant

  • if you have been diagnosed with a blood disorder

  • if you are taking any other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: This medication is safe for use.
Infants and children: Note that a dosage adjustment may be needed.
The elderly: note that a dosage adjustment may be needed.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
headache
X

X

diarrhoea

X
X

constipation

X
X

nausea/vomting

X
X

abdominal pain

X
X

lose of appetite

X
X

visual disturbances

X
X

drowsiness

X
X

dizziness

X
X

shakiness

X
X

fever

X

X
blood disorders

X

X
yellow tinge to skin/eyes

X

X
anxiety and agitation

X
X

seizures

X

X
difficulty breathing

X

X
skin disorders

X

X

Interactions

cancer medication additive toxicity
co-trimoxazole additive toxicity
didanosine risk of didanosine toxicity, possible increased frequency of seizures
pronemecid increased risk of ganciclovir toxicity
zidovudine increased zidovudine toxicity

Disease interactions
Contact your doctor before taking acyclovir if you have kidney disease, or a blood disorder.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.
 
 

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