Skip to main content


Generic name: cidofovirsi-DOF-o-veer ]
Drug class: Purine nucleosides

Medically reviewed by on Apr 20, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Vistide?

Vistide is an antiviral medicine that is used to treat an eye infection called cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV) in people who have AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). This medicine is for treating CMV only in people who have AIDS.

Vistide is not a cure for CMV and may not prevent vision changes.

Vistide may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Vistide can harm your kidneys after only one or two doses. You should not receive this medicine if you have used any of the following drugs within the past 7 days: certain medicines for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, high blood pressure, or pain or arthritis (including Advil, Motrin, and Aleve).

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with Vistide if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • moderate to severe kidney disease; or

  • a history of severe allergic reaction to probenecid or sulfa drugs.

You should not receive Vistide if you've used certain other medicines within 7 days before a this medicine injection. Tell your doctor if you use any of the following:

  • blood pressure medicine;

  • cancer medicine;

  • injectable medications to treat osteoporosis or Paget's disease of bone;

  • medication to prevent organ transplant rejection;

  • medicines for infections;

  • medicines to treat a bowel disorder; or

  • some pain or arthritis medicines (including Advil, Motrin, and Aleve).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease;

  • diabetes; or

  • pancreas problems.

Vistide can harm an unborn baby if the mother or the father is using Vistide.

  • If you are a woman, do not use Vistide if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 1 month after your last dose.

  • If you are a man, use effective birth control if your sex partner is able to get pregnant. Keep using birth control for at least 3 months after your last dose.

  • Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using Vistide.

Women with HIV or AIDS should not breastfeed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.

How is Vistide given?

Vistide is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Your doctor test your kidney function within 48 hours before each dose of cidofovir.

Make sure your doctor knows if you also take zidovudine to treat HIV. You may need to change your dose or stop taking it on the day you receive a Vistide infusion.

Vistide can harm your kidneys after only one or two doses. You will be given intravenous (IV) fluids and oral probenecid while you are receiving this medicine.

Vistide and IV fluids must be given slowly, and your entire treatment can take up to 6 hours to complete.

Take probenecid with food if it upsets your stomach. Keep taking the probenecid for the full prescribed length of time. Skipping doses may increase your risk of complications caused by Vistide.

You will need frequent medical tests, and your next Vistide infusion may be delayed based on the results.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Vistide, or if you miss any dose of probenecid.

What happens if I overdose?

Since Vistide is given in a medical setting, you will be watched closely to make sure you do not receive too much of Vistide. Your caregivers will quickly treat you if you have overdose symptoms.

What should I avoid while receiving Vistide?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Vistide side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Vistide may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • vision changes, white or yellow patches on your eyes;

  • kidney problems--swelling, rapid weight gain, little or no urinating, increased thirst, loss of appetite, constipation, pain in your side or lower back;

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath; or

  • pancreatitis--severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting.

Common side effects of Vistide may include:

While taking probenecid, you may have side effects such as:

  • nausea, vomiting;

  • skin rash;

  • fever, chills; or

  • headache.

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 other drugs will affect Vistide?

Many drugs can affect Vistide, and some drugs should not be used within 7 days before you receive this medicine. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.