April 30, 2017
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Cytovene Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking ganciclovir (Cytovene)?

Before taking ganciclovir, tell your doctor if you have

  • had an allergic reaction to ganciclovir or acyclovir (Zovirax);
  • kidney disease; or
  • blood problems or low blood counts.

You may not be able to take ganciclovir, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Ganciclovir is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether ganciclovir will be harmful to an unborn baby. Ganciclovir has caused birth defects in animals, and it is generally not recommended for use during pregnancy. Women should use an effective form of birth control during treatment with ganciclovir. Also, men should use a form of barrier contraception (e.g., condom) during and for at least 90 days following treatment with ganciclovir.

It is not known whether ganciclovir passes into breast milk. Generally, breast-feeding should be avoided during treatment with ganciclovir. Do not take ganciclovir without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take ganciclovir (Cytovene)?

Take ganciclovir exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each oral dose with a full glass of water.

Take each oral dose with food to increase the absorption of the drug in your body.

Your healthcare provider will administer injectable ganciclovir as an intravenous (into a vein) infusion.

If you are injecting ganciclovir at home, your healthcare provider will give you detailed instructions on how and where to inject the medication. If you do not understand these directions, do not attempt to inject the medication. Contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.

Do not use any ganciclovir that is discolored, has particles in it, or looks different from your previous doses. Throw away any unused ganciclovir after the amount of time determined by your pharmacist or doctor.

Take all of the ganciclovir that has been prescribed for you even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may start to improve before the infection is completely treated.

Your doctor may want you to have blood tests, eye exams, or other evaluations during treatment with ganciclovir to monitor progress and side effects.

Store oral ganciclovir at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Dispose of used needles and syringes in a puncture resistant container out of the reach of children.

Your healthcare provider will store injectable ganciclovir as directed by the manufacturer or give you detailed storage instructions if you are storing the medication at home.

Side Effects Centers

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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