Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Bleeding: Ganciclovir can cause a decrease in the number of platelets that are produced in the body. Platelets are responsible for forming clots. If you experience unusual bruising or bleeding, bleeding gums, unusual nosebleeds, stools that look like coffee grounds or blood in urine, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Blood disorders: If you have any blood disorders (e.g., anemia, thrombocytopenia), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Cancer: Although it has not been clearly demonstrated in humans, there is the possibility that ganciclovir might cause certain types of cancer. If you have concerns, discuss this with your doctor.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: This medication may reduce alertness by causing drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion. Some people have had seizures while using this medication. Avoid hazardous activities such as driving or operating machinery until you know whether the medication affects your ability to perform such tasks.
Fertility: This medication may decrease fertility in both males and females, and these effects may persist after the medication has been stopped. For people who are using the intraveneous (injection into the vein) form of this medication, the changes may be permanent.
Kidney function: The kidneys remove ganciclovir from the body. People who have decreased kidney function may experience higher than expected levels of ganciclovir in the blood and therefore an increased level of side effects.
If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Red blood cells: Ganciclovir may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired, pale skin, decreased blood pressure or pounding heartbeat, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Reduced white blood cells: Ganciclovir can cause low levels of white blood cells. This usually happens within 1 to 2 weeks of starting treatment. Your doctor should order regular blood tests to monitor for changes in the numbers of blood cells during treatment. If you experience symptoms of an infection (e.g., fever, sore throat) contact your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy because it can be harmful to the developing child. Women who are taking this medication should use an effective method of birth control (e.g, birth control pill, condoms) while they are taking this medication. Men who are taking this medication should use a barrier method of birth control (e.g., a condom) while they are using this medication, and for at least 90 days after stopping the medication.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if ganciclovir passes into breast milk. Due to the severity of side effects with ganciclovir and the risk of harm to the baby, women should not breast feed while they are using this medication.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under 12 years of age.
Seniors: The safety of using ganciclovir has not been established for seniors. Seniors are generally at an increased risk of side effects Your doctor should closely monitor the effects of this medication when it is being given to a senior.