Valganciclovir is used to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis (eye infection that can cause blindness) in people who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Valganciclovir is also used to prevent cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in people who have received a heart, kidney, or kidney-pancreas transplant and who have a chance of getting CMV disease. Valganciclovir is in a class of medications called antivirals. It works by preventing the spread of CMV disease or slowing the growth of CMV.
Side Effects Of Valganciclovir
Valganciclovir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- pain, tenderness, or swelling of the abdomen
- eye pain
- weight loss
- back, joint, or muscle pain
- mouth ulcers
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
- seeing specks, flashes of light, or a dark curtain over everything
- decreased urination
- blood in urine
- vision problems
- swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- yellowing of skin or eyes; loss of appetite; dark urine; and/or light-colored bowel movements
- unintentional trembling or shaking movements
- numbness, pain, burning or tingling in the hands or feet
Valganciclovir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking valganciclovir:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to valganciclovir, ganciclovir (Cytovene), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in valganciclovir tablets or oral solution. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS section and any of the following: amphotericin B (Abelcet, Ambisome); imipenem-cilastatin (Primaxin); mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept); and probenecid. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had the conditions mentioned in the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS section or any of the following conditions: kidney or liver disease, or if you are being treated with hemodialysis (a special machine that removes waste products from the blood).
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed while taking valganciclovir. Talk to your doctor about when you may safely begin breastfeeding after you stop taking valganciclovir.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking valganciclovir.
- you should know that valganciclovir may make you drowsy, dizzy, unsteady, confused, less alert, or cause seizures. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
Dosage Of Valganciclovir
Valganciclovir comes as a tablet and as an oral solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with food once or twice a day. To help you remember to take valganciclovir, take it around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take valganciclovir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Children may take the tablets or the oral solution; however, adults should only take the tablets.
The oral solution will be prepared by your pharmacist and they will also give you a device to measure your dose. Only use the measuring device provided to you to measure your solution.
Shake the oral solution well before each use.
Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, break, or crush them.
Be careful when handling valganciclovir tablets or oral solutions. Do not allow your skin, eyes, mouth, or nose to come into contact with broken or crushed valganciclovir tablets or oral solution. If such contact occurs, wash your skin well with soap and water or rinse your eyes well with plain water.
Valganciclovir helps to control CMV but does not cure it. Do not stop taking valganciclovir without talking to your doctor. Stopping to take valganciclovir too soon may cause the amount of CMV in your blood to increase or the virus to become resistant to this medication.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Do not let your valganciclovir supply run out. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.