valganciclovir

Pronunciation: val gan SYE kloe veer

Brand: Valcyte

What is the most important information I should know about valganciclovir?

Do not use if you are pregnant. Valganciclovir can cause birth defects. Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using this medicine.

Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy, whether you are a man or a woman. Keep using birth control for at least 30 days after your last dose of valganciclovir if you are a woman, or for at least 90 days after your last dose if you are a man.

Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as: fever, chills, tiredness, flu symptoms, mouth sores, skin sores, pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, shortness of breath, or feeling light-headed.

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

What is valganciclovir?

Valganciclovir is an antiviral drug. It works by preventing viral cells from multiplying in your body.

Valganciclovir is used in adults to prevent infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) that may occur after an organ transplant (heart, kidney, or pancreas). Valganciclovir is also used to treat CMV infection of the eye in adults with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Valganciclovir is used in children at least 4 months old to prevent CMV infection after a kidney transplant. Valganciclovir is also used in children at least 1 month old to prevent CMV disease after a heart transplant.

Valganciclovir will not cure CMV but it can help control the infection. Valganciclovir is not for treating CMV that a baby is born with.

Valganciclovir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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

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

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

Your doctor may have switched you from ganciclovir (Cytovene) to valganciclovir (Valcyte). The strength of these two medications is different. A valganciclovir tablet contains more medicine than a ganciclovir capsule. You may not need to use as many valganciclovir tablets as you did ganciclovir capsules. Take only the number of valganciclovir tablets your doctor has prescribed.

Using valganciclovir may increase your risk of developing cancer. Ask your doctor about your specific risk.

To make sure valganciclovir is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

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

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before taking valganciclovir.

Valganciclovir can harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy, whether you are a man or a woman. Men should use condoms. The use of this medicine by either parent may cause birth defects.

  • If you are a woman, keep using birth control for at least 30 days after your last dose of valganciclovir.
  • If you are a man, keep using condoms for at least 90 days after your last dose.
  • Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using this medicine.

This medicine may affect fertility (ability to have children) in both men and women. However, it is important to use birth control to prevent pregnancy because valganciclovir may harm the baby if a pregnancy does occur.

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

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.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

How should I take valganciclovir?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take valganciclovir with food.

Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking valganciclovir.

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 the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Do not crush or break a valganciclovir tablet. 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.

While using valganciclovir, you may need frequent blood tests.

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

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

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.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking valganciclovir?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection. Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury.

Valganciclovir may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Taking this medicine will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

What are the possible side effects of valganciclovir?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Serious infections may occur during treatment with valganciclovir. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

  • fever, chills, tiredness, flu-like symptoms;
  • feeling light-headed or short of breath;
  • mouth sores, skin sores;
  • pale skin, cold hands and feet; or
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum).

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a seizure (convulsions);
  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • pain or swelling near your transplanted organ; or
  • kidney problems --little or no urinating; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath.

Kidney problems may be more likely in older adults.

Common side effects may include:

  • fever or other signs of infection;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • headache;
  • tremors, loss of balance or coordination;
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect valganciclovir?

Valganciclovir can harm your kidneys. This effect is increased when you also use certain other medicines, including: antivirals, chemotherapy, injected antibiotics, medicine for bowel disorders, medicine to prevent organ transplant rejection, injectable osteoporosis medication, and some pain or arthritis medicines (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).

Other drugs may interact with valganciclovir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about valganciclovir.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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