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Cytovene Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Cytovene (ganciclovir) is an antiviral drug used to treat and prevent infections caused by cytomegalovirus. This infection usually occurs in patients who have suppressed immune systems such as patients with AIDS and organ transplant patients. Cytovene is available in generic form. Common side effects of Cytovene include:
- upset stomach,
- decreased appetite,
- shaking (tremors),
- injection site reactions (pain, redness, or irritation),
- increased sweating,
- decreased sperm production, or
Tell your doctor immediately if you have unlikely but serious side effects of Cytovene including:
- mental/mood changes (such as confusion, hallucinations),
- changes in the amount of urine, or
The recommended initial dosage of Cytovene for patients with normal renal function is 5 mg/kg (given intravenously at a constant rate over 1 hour) every 12 hours for 14 to 21 days. The recommended maintenance dosage is 5 mg/kg given as intravenous infusion over 1 hour once daily, 7 days per week, or 6 mg/kg once daily, 5 days per week. Cytovene may interact with zidovudine, didanosine, probenecid, or imipenem-cilastatin. Tell your doctor all medications you use. During pregnancy, Cytovene should be used only when prescribed. It may harm a fetus. Men should use effective barrier protection (such as latex or polyurethane condoms) during sexual activity during treatment and for at least 90 days after stopping the medication. Women of child-bearing age should use at least 2 forms of birth control (such as birth control pills and condoms); consult your doctor. It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. It may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. If you have HIV, do not breastfeed because breast milk can transmit HIV.
Our Cytovene (ganciclovir) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
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 is Patient Information in Detail?
Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.
Cytovene in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects
Serious side effects affecting the blood have been reported with the use of ganciclovir. Decreased levels of blood cells (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets) have occurred. Your doctor may monitor your blood with blood tests.
Stop taking ganciclovir and seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- paleness and fatigue that may be signs of anemia (a low level of red blood cells);
- unusual bleeding or bruising;
- fever or signs of infection; or
- numbness or tingling in a part of your body.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take ganciclovir and talk to your doctor if you experience
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite;
- increased sweating;
- itching; or
- decreased sperm production or infertility.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Cytovene (Ganciclovir)
What is Patient Information Overview?
A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.
Cytovene Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects
Diarrhea, upset stomach, dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, shaking (tremors), or pain/redness/irritation at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (such as confusion, hallucinations), change in the amount of urine, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the entire patient information overview for Cytovene (Ganciclovir)
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Cytovene FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
Adverse events that occurred during clinical trials of CYTOVENE-IV solution are summarized below, according to the participating study subject population.
Subjects With AIDS
Three controlled, randomized, phase 3 trials comparing CYTOVENE-IV and ganciclovir capsules for maintenance treatment of CMV retinitis have been completed. During these trials, CYTOVENE-IV or ganciclovir capsules were prematurely discontinued in 9% of subjects because of adverse events. Laboratory data and adverse events reported during the conduct of these controlled trials are summarized below.
Table 4 Selected Laboratory Abnormalities in Trials for Treatment of CMV
|Treatment||CMV Retinitis Treatment*|
|500 – <749||17%||14%|
|750 – <1000||19%||26%|
|6.5 – <8.0||10%||16%|
|8.0 – <9.5||25%||26%|
|Maximum Serum Creatinine:|
|≥1.5 – <2.5||12%||14%|
|*Pooled data from Treatment Studies, ICM 1653, Study ICM 1774 and Study AVI 034
†Mean time on therapy = 91 days, including allowed reinduction treatment periods
‡Mean time on therapy = 103 days, including allowed reinduction treatment periods (See Clinical Trials.)
The following table shows selected adverse events reported in 5% or more of the subjects in three controlled clinical trials during treatment with either CYTOVENE-IV solution (5 mg/kg/day) or ganciclovir capsules (3000 mg/day), and in one controlled clinical trial with CYTOVENE capsules (3000 mg/day).
Table 5 Selected Adverse Events Reported in ≥ 5% of Subjects in Three
Randomized Phase 3 Studies Comparing Ganciclovir Capsules to
CYTOVENE-IV Solution for Maintenance Treatment of CMV Retinitis
|Body System||Adverse Event||Maintenance Treatment Studies|
|Body as a Whole||Fever||38%||48%|
|Hemic and Lymphatic System||Leukopenia||29%||41%|
|Nervous System Other||Neuropathy||8%||9%|
|Catheter Related*||Total Catheter Events||6%||22%|
|*Some of these events also appear under other body systems.|
The following events were frequently observed in clinical trials but occurred with equal or greater frequency in placebo-treated subjects: abdominal pain, nausea, flatulence, pneumonia, paresthesia, rash.
Retinal detachment has been observed in subjects with CMV retinitis both before and after initiation of therapy with ganciclovir. Its relationship to therapy with ganciclovir is unknown. Retinal detachment occurred in 11% of patients treated with CYTOVENE-IV solution and in 8% of patients treated with ganciclovir capsules. Patients with CMV retinitis should have frequent ophthalmologic evaluations to monitor the status of their retinitis and to detect any other retinal pathology.
There have been three controlled clinical trials of CYTOVENE-IV solution for the prevention of CMV disease in transplant recipients. Laboratory data and adverse events reported during these trials are summarized below.
Table 6 Controlled Trials – Transplant Recipients
|Heart Allograft*||Bone Marrow Allograft†|
|*Study ICM 14 96. Mean duration of treatment = 28 days
†Study ICM 1570 and ICM 1689. Mean duration of treatment = 4 5 days (See Clinical Trials.)
The following table shows the frequency of elevated serum creatinine values in these controlled clinical trials:
Table 7 Controlled Trials - Trans plant Recipients
|Bone Marrow Allograft
|Bone Marrow Allograft
|Serum Creatinine≥2.5 mg/dL||18%||4%||20%||0%||0%||0%|
|Serum Creatinine≥1.5 - <2.5 mg/dL||58%||69%||50%||35%||43%||44%|
In these three trials, patients receiving CYTOVENE-IV solution had elevated serum creatinine levels when compared to those receiving placebo. Most patients in these studies also received cyclosporine. The mechanism of impairment of renal function is not known. However, careful monitoring of renal function during therapy with CYTOVENE-IV solution is essential, especially for those patients receiving concomitant agents that may cause nephrotoxicity.
Other adverse events that were thought to be "probably" or "possibly" related to CYTOVENE-IV solution or ganciclovir capsules in controlled clinical studies in either subjects with AIDS or transplant recipients are listed below. These events all occurred in at least 3 subjects.
Hemic and Lymphatic System: pancytopenia
Respiratory System: cough increased, dyspnea
Skin and Appendages: alopecia, dry skin
Urogenital System: creatinine clearance decreased, kidney failure, kidney function abnormal, urinary frequency
Adverse Events Reported During Postmarketing Experience With CYTOVENE-IV And Ganciclovir Capsules
The following events have been identified during postapproval use of the drug. Because they are reported voluntarily from a population of unknown size, estimates of frequency cannot be made. These events have been chosen for inclusion due to either the seriousness, frequency of reporting, the apparent causal connection or a combination of these factors:
acidosis, allergic reaction, anaphylactic reaction, arthritis, bronchospasm, cardiac arrest, cardiac conduction abnormality, cataracts, cholelithiasis, cholestasis, congenital anomaly, dry eyes, dysesthesia, dysphasia, elevated triglyceride levels, encephalopathy, exfoliative dermatitis, extrapyramidal reaction, facial palsy, hallucinations, hemolytic anemia, hemolytic uremic syndrome, hepatic failure, hepatitis, hypercalcemia, hyponatremia, inappropriate serum ADH, infertility, intestinal ulceration, intracranial hypertension, irritability, loss of memory, loss of sense of smell, myelopathy, oculomotor nerve paralysis, peripheral ischemia, pulmonary fibrosis, renal tubular disorder, rhabdomyolysis, Stevens- Johnson syndrome, stroke, testicular hypotrophy, Torsades de Pointes, vasculitis, ventricular tachycardia
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Cytovene (Ganciclovir)
Additional Cytovene Information
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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