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Vitrasert Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 6/8/2016

Vitrasert (ganciclovir) is an antiviral implant used to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The brand name Vitrasert is discontinued, but generic versions may be available. Common side effects of Vitrasert (ganciclovir) include:

  • blurred vision (may last up to 4 weeks after Vitrasert is implanted)
  • eye irritation
  • increased tearing
  • eye pain or swelling
  • eye redness
  • burning or itching eyes
  • vision changes
  • sensitivity to light
  • vitreous hemorrhage
  • retinal detachments
  • cataracts
  • eye abnormalities and other eye problems or visual disturbances

Each Vitrasert Implant contains a minimum dose of 4.5 mg of ganciclovir, and is designed to release the drug over a 5 to 8 month period of time. Vitrasert may interact with other drugs. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, Vitrasert should be implanted only if prescribed. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breastfeed.

Our Vitrasert (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 Overview?

A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.

Vitrasert Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects

SIDE EFFECTS: Consult your 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 Vitrasert (Ganciclovir)

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

Vitrasert FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)


During clinical trials, the most frequent adverse events seen in patients treated with the Vitrasert (ganciclovir) Implant involved the eye.

During the first two months following implantation, visual acuity loss of 3 lines or more, vitreous hemorrhage, and retinal detachments occurred in approximately 10-20% of patients. Cataract formation/lens opacities, macular abnormalities, intraocular pressure spikes, optic disk/nerve changes, hyphemas and uveitis occurred in approximately 1-5%.

Adverse events with an incidence of less than 1% were: retinopathy, anterior chamber cell and flare, synechia, hemorrhage (other than vitreous), cotton wool spots, keratopathy, astigmatism, endophthalmitis, microangiopathy, sclerosis, choroiditis, chemosis, phthisis bulbi, angle closure glaucoma with anterior chamber shallowing, vitreous detachment, vitreous traction, hypotony, severe post-operative inflammation, retinal tear, retinal hole, corneal dellen, choroidal folds, pellet extrusion from scleral wound, and gliosis.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Vitrasert (Ganciclovir)

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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