Valganciclovir may lower the number of all types of cells in your blood, causing serious and life-threatening problems. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had anemia (red blood cells do not bring enough oxygen to all parts of the body); neutropenia (less than normal number of white blood cells); thrombocytopenia (less than normal number of platelets); or other blood or bleeding problems. Tell your doctor if you have ever developed blood problems as a side effect of any medication. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or have taken any of the following medications: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); cancer chemotherapy medications; dapsone; flucytosine, (Ancobon); heparin; immunosuppressants such as azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) , methotrexate (Rheumatrex), sirolimus (Rapamune), and tacrolimus (Prograf); interferons (Infergen, Intron A, PEGASYS, PEG-Intron, Roferon-A); medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) including didanosine (Videx) , zalcitabine (HIVID), or zidovudine (Retrovir, AZT); nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to treat pain and swelling such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and others; pentamidine (NebuPent, Pentam); pyrimethamine (Daraprim, in Fansidar); steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron), prednisone (Deltasone), or others; trimethoprim/sufamethoxazole (co-trimoxazole, Bactrim, Septra); or if you have received or are receiving radiation (X-ray) therapy. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: excessive tiredness; pale skin; headache; dizziness; confusion; fast heartbeat; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; weakness; shortness of breath; unusual bleeding or bruising; or sore throat, fever, chills, cough, or other signs of infection.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to valganciclovir.
Laboratory animals who were given valganciclovir developed birth defects. It is not known if valganciclovir causes birth defects in people. If you can become pregnant, you should use effective birth control while taking valganciclovir. If you are a man and your partner can become pregnant, you should use a condom while taking valganciclovir and for 90 days after your treatment. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about birth control. Do not take valganciclovir if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking valganciclovir, call your doctor immediately.
Laboratory animals who were given valganciclovir developed a lower sperm count (fewer male reproductive cells) and fertility problems. It is not known if valganciclovir causes lower sperm counts in men or problems with fertility in women.
Laboratory animals who were given valganciclovir developed cancer. It is not known if valganciclovir increases the risk of cancer in humans.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking valganciclovir.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient and read it carefully before you start taking this medication and each time you get a refill.
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.
Valganciclovir comes as a tablet 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.
If you used to take ganciclovir (Cytovene), your doctor may have prescribed valganciclovir for you to take instead. Valganciclovir changes into ganciclovir in your body. However, valganciclovir tablets contain a different amount of medication and are taken differently than ganciclovir capsules. Do not take the same number of valganciclovir tablets at the same times that you used to take ganciclovir capsules Take valganciclovir according to the directions you were given by your doctor. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about taking valganciclovir.
Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, break or crush them.
Be careful when handling valganciclovir tablets. Do not allow your skin, eyes, mouth, or nose to come into contact with broken or crushed valganciclovir tablets. If such contact occurs, wash your skin well with soap and water or rinse your eyes well with plain water.
Your doctor may start you on a high dose of valganciclovir and decrease your dose after several weeks. Valganciclovir does not cure CMV retinitis. You may develop CMV retinitis or your symptoms may get worse while you are taking valganciclovir. However, valganciclovir may prevent blindness caused by CMV retinitis. It is important that you see your doctor regularly and continue to take valganciclovir for as long as your doctor tells you that you should. Do not stop taking valganciclovir without talking to your doctor and try not to miss any doses. If you stop taking valganciclovir even for a short time, your condition may become worse and may be more difficult to treat.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. Then take the next dose at the usual scheduled time. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
loss of appetite
seeing specks, flashes of light, or a dark curtain over everything
swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
yellowing of the skin or eyes
shaking hands that you cannot control
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.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
shaking hands that you cannot control
sore throat, fever, chills, cough, or other signs of infection
yellowing of the skin or eyes
difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
shortness of breath
unusual bleeding or bruising
Your doctor may order regular eye exams while you are taking this medication. Keep all appointments with the ophthalmologist (appointments for eye exams).
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking valganciclovir.
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.
Last Revised - 03/16/2011
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.