An Overview of Cytovene (Ganciclovir)
October 5, 2016
Other Names: Cytovene IV, ganciclovir sodium
Drug Class: Opportunistic Infections and Coinfections
What Is Ganciclovir?
Ganciclovir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis (a viral Infection and inflammation of the eye's retina) in individuals with AIDS. Ganciclovir is also FDA-approved for the prevention of CMV disease in transplant recipients at risk for CMV diseases.
CMV diseases, including CMV retinitis, are opportunistic infections. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems -- such as those infected with HIV -- than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about opportunistic infections, read the AIDSinfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.
Ganciclovir can also be used "off-label" to prevent and treat other opportunistic infections of HIV infection. "Off-label" use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used "off-label."
How Is Ganciclovir Used in People With HIV?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of ganciclovir. On-label, ganciclovir is recommended for the treatment of CMV retinitis. Ganciclovir is also recommended for use off-label to:
What Should I Tell My Health Care Provider Before Taking Ganciclovir?
Before taking ganciclovir, tell your health care provider:
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from ganciclovir. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
How Should I Take Ganciclovir?
Take ganciclovir according to your health care provider's instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much ganciclovir to take and when to take it. Before you start ganciclovir and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How Should Ganciclovir Be Stored?
Where Can I Find More Information About Ganciclovir?
More information about ganciclovir is available:
The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Injection (powder, lyophilized, for solution).
This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.