Meds and you

27 September 2013

Valganciclovir

Valganciclovir is an anti-viral drug. Anti-viral drugs are used to prevent or cure an infection caused by a virus, by inhibiting viral growth.

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Valganciclovir is the active ingredient of Valcyte 450 tablets (Nappi Code: 703908-001).

General Information
Valganciclovir is an anti-viral drug. Anti-viral drugs are used to prevent or cure an infection caused by a virus, by inhibiting viral growth, or by interfering with the ability of the virus to multiply.

In South Africa valganciclovir is registered for the treatment of infection with the cytomegalovirus (CMV). This is a virus that often occurs in immuno-compromised people such as Aids patients or those who underwent a transplant (such as liver or kidney transplants).

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

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

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: valganciclovir is available as tablets.
What does it do? Valganciclovir is an anti-viral drug.
Overdose risk: high
Dependence risk: low
Is valganciclovir available as a generic? no
Is valganciclovir available on prescription only? yes

User information

Dietary advice: valganciclovir should best be taken with food.
Stopping this medicine: do not stop taking this medication until you have finished the course as prescribed by your doctor - infection may recur with premature discontinuation.
Prolonged use: your doctor should have regular blood tests performed to monitor blood counts. Bone marrow toxicity may occur with prolonged use.

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. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: This medication is safe for use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children.
The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as side effects are more likely to occur.
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/vomiting
 
X
X
 
abdominal pain
 
X
X
 
loss of appetite
 
X
X
 
visual disturbances/eye pain
 
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
probenecid increased risk of valganciclovir toxicity
zidovudine increased zidovudine toxicity

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

Recommended dosage
Adults: 450 - 900mg once to twice daily. To avoid an overdose it is advised to adhere strictly to the dosage recommendation.

 

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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