Valganciclovir

Generic Name: valganciclovir (VAL-gan-SYE-kloe-vir)
Brand Name: Valcyte

Valganciclovir is changed into another medicine, ganciclovir, in the body. It may cause severe blood side effects (eg, low platelet levels, low white blood cell counts, anemia). Contact your doctor right away if you develop unusual tiredness or weakness, easy bruising or bleeding, or symptoms of an infection (eg, fever, chills, persistent sore throat).

Valganciclovir has caused cancer, birth defects, and a lack of sperm production in animals. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.


Valganciclovir is used for:

Treating cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection of the eye in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is used to prevent CMV disease in high risk kidney, heart, and kidney-pancreas transplant patients. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Valganciclovir is an antiviral agent. It works by stopping the growth and reproduction of the virus.

Do NOT use valganciclovir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in valganciclovir or to ganciclovir
  • you have very low levels of red blood cells, certain white blood cells (eg, neutrophils), or platelets
  • you are on dialysis
  • you are taking ganciclovir

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using valganciclovir:

Some medical conditions may interact with valganciclovir. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you are dehydrated or have kidney problems
  • if you have congenital CMV disease, blood cell or platelet problems, or a history of bone marrow problems
  • if you have had a transplant other than a kidney, heart, or kidney-pancreas transplant
  • if you have recently received or are receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • if you have taken other medicines that may cause bone marrow problems or weaken your immune system. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines may cause bone marrow problems or weaken your immune system

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with valganciclovir. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Zidovudine because the risk of low white blood cell levels or anemia may be increased
  • Medicines that may harm the kidney (eg, aminoglycoside antibiotics [eg, gentamicin], amphotericin B, cyclosporine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] [eg, ibuprofen], tacrolimus, vancomycin) because the risk of kidney problems may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the kidney
  • Mycophenolate mofetil, mycophenolic acid, or probenecid because they may increase the risk of valganciclovir's side effects
  • Didanosine because the risk of its side effects may be increased by valganciclovir

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if valganciclovir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use valganciclovir:

Use valganciclovir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with valganciclovir. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take valganciclovir by mouth with food.
  • Swallow valganciclovir whole. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.
  • Do not get broken or crushed tablets on your skin or in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If contact occurs, wash your skin thoroughly with soap and water and rinse your eyes with plenty of clear water.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how you should dispose of any unused medicine.
  • Take valganciclovir on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it.
  • Continue to take valganciclovir even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of valganciclovir, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use valganciclovir.

Important safety information:

  • Valganciclovir may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use valganciclovir with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Valganciclovir is not a cure for CMV infection. Remain under the care of your doctor.
  • If you are switching from ganciclovir to valganciclovir: 1 tablet of valganciclovir contains more medicine than 1 capsule of ganciclovir. Be sure you know how many tablets of valganciclovir your doctor wants you to take. Do NOT take more than the recommended dose; you may experience serious side effects or overdose.
  • You should be careful not to become dehydrated while you are taking valganciclovir. The risk of kidney problems may be increased. Check with your doctor about whether you should drink extra fluids while you are taking valganciclovir.
  • If vomiting or diarrhea occurs, you will need to take care not to become dehydrated. Contact your doctor for instructions.
  • Valganciclovir may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Valganciclovir may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Use of valganciclovir may increase your risk of developing cancer. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • When your medicine supply is low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can. Do not stop taking valganciclovir, even for a short period of time. If you do, the virus may grow resistant to the medicine and become harder to treat.
  • Some patients have had rejection of their transplanted organ while taking valganciclovir. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Valganciclovir may cause decreased sperm production. This may be temporary or permanent. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Valganciclovir may cause decreased fertility in women. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Men who take valganciclovir should always use a condom when having sex with a woman who may become pregnant. Do this for as long as you take valganciclovir and for at least 90 days after you stop taking it.
  • Women who take valganciclovir and who may become pregnant should always use effective birth control during sex. Do this for as long as you take valganciclovir and for at least 30 days after you stop taking it.
  • Lab tests, including eye exams, complete blood cell and platelet counts, and kidney function, may be performed while you use valganciclovir. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use valganciclovir with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially kidney problems.
  • Caution is advised when using valganciclovir in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially fever, upper respiratory tract infection, anemia, and low white blood cell levels.
  • Use valganciclovir with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 4 months old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Valganciclovir may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. Use effective contraception to prevent pregnancy while you are taking valganciclovir. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using valganciclovir while you are pregnant. It is not known if valganciclovir is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking valganciclovir.

Possible side effects of valganciclovir:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Back pain; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; nausea; stomach pain; trouble sleeping; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); change in the amount of urine produced; confusion; dark urine; decreased coordination; hallucinations; irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes (eg, depression); muscle weakness; numbness or tingling of the skin, hands, or feet; seizures; severe or persistent headache, dizziness, or drowsiness; swelling of the arms or legs; symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, sore throat); tremors, unsteady movements; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision changes; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include blood in the urine; change in the amount of urine produced; dark urine; fever, chills, or sore throat; seizures; severe or persistent diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach pain; tremors; unusual bruising or bleeding; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Proper storage of valganciclovir:

Store valganciclovir at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep valganciclovir out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about valganciclovir, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Valganciclovir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take valganciclovir or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about valganciclovir. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to valganciclovir. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using valganciclovir.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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