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Vistide Side Effects

Generic Name: cidofovir

Note: This document contains side effect information about cidofovir. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Vistide.

In Summary

Common side effects of Vistide include: decreased creatinine clearance, decreased intraocular pressure, increased serum creatinine, nephrotoxicity, neutropenia, and proteinuria. Other side effects include: decreased serum bicarbonate. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to cidofovir: intravenous solution

Along with its needed effects, cidofovir (the active ingredient contained in Vistide) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Medicines like cidofovir can sometimes cause serious side effects such as blood problems and kidney problems; these are described below. Cidofovir has also been found to cause cancer in animals, and there is a chance it could cause cancer in humans as well. Discuss these possible side effects with your doctor.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking cidofovir:

More common

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking cidofovir:

More common
  • Decreased urination
  • increased thirst and urination
  • Decreased vision or any change in vision

Some side effects of cidofovir may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common Less common
  • Generalized weakness
  • loss of strength

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cidofovir: intravenous solution


The most commonly reported adverse events include proteinuria, increased serum creatinine, neutropenia, decreased serum bicarbonate, decreased intraocular pressure, fever, and infection.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Proteinuria (up to 88%), elevated creatinine (up to 24%), nephrotoxicity (up to 59%)
Frequency not reported: Increased BUN[Ref]

Nephrotoxicity may be irreversible. Renal impairment, including cases of acute renal failure resulting in dialysis and/or contributing to death, has occurred with as few as one or two doses of the drug. Proteinuria (greater than 2+), reduced creatinine clearance (less than or equal to 55 mL/min), and/or elevations of serum creatinine concentration (greater than 0.4 mg/dL) occurred in about 59% of patients receiving a maintenance dose of 5 mg/kg every other week. Toxic nephropathy has also been reported.[Ref]


The risk of ocular hypotony may be increased in patients with diabetes mellitus.

Uveitis or iritis was reported in 15 (11%) of 135 patients who were administered the 5 mg/kg maintenance dose. Patients should be monitored for signs and symptoms of these complications and if they develop, treatment with topical corticosteroids with or without topical cycloplegic agents may be useful.[Ref]

Very common (10% or more): Anterior uveitis/iritis (11%); decreased intraocular pressure (24%)
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Ocular hypotony
Frequency not reported: Abnormal vision, amblyopia, blindness, cataract, conjunctivitis, corneal lesion, corneal opacity, diplopia, dry eyes, eye pain, iritis, keratitis, refraction disorder, retinal detachment, retinal disorder, uveitis, visual field defect, miosis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (up to 23%), decreased serum bicarbonate (16%)
Common (1% to 10%): Fanconi-like syndrome
Frequency not reported: Weight loss, weight gain, thirst, respiratory alkalosis, hyperkalemia, hypophosphatemia, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, hyperglycemia, dehydration, hypocalcemia, cachexia, hypercalcemia, hyperlipidemia, hypoglycemia, hypoglycemic reaction, hyponatremia, hypoproteinemia, metabolic acidosis[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Glycosuria[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Neutropenia (up to 43%), anemia (up to 24%)
Frequency not reported: Hypochromic anemia, leukocytosis, leukopenia, lymphadenopathy, lymphoma like reaction, pancytopenia, splenic disorder, splenomegaly, thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity, allergic reaction[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 69%), diarrhea (up to 26%). oral moniliasis (up to 18%)
Common (1% to 10%): Nausea with vomiting
Frequency not reported: Dyspepsia, constipation, abdominal pain, cholangitis, colitis, esophagitis, dysphagia, fecal incontinence, flatulence, gastritis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, gingivitis, melena, pancreatitis, proctitis, rectal disorder, stomatitis, aphthous stomatitis, tongue discoloration, mouth ulceration, tooth caries, dry mouth[Ref]

Administration of probenecid after a meal and/or therapy with antiemetics may alleviate the nausea and vomiting associated with probenecid.[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular disorder, congestive heart failure, hypertension, hypotension, peripheral vascular disorder, phlebitis, postural hypotension, shock, syncope, tachycardia, vascular disorder, edema, chest pain[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Alopecia (up to 27%), rash (up to 30%)
Frequency not reported: Cellulitis, cyst, face edema, photosensitivity reaction, acne, angioedema, dry skin, eczema, exfoliative dermatitis, furunculosis, herpes, simplex nail disorder, pruritus, rash, seborrhea, skin discoloration, skin disorder, skin hypertrophy, skin ulcer, sweating, urticaria[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Blocked catheter, injection site reaction[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Adrenal cortex insufficiency[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hepatitis, hepatomegaly, hepatosplenomegaly, jaundice, abnormal liver function, liver damage, liver necrosis, increased transaminases, increased alkaline phosphatase, increased lactic dehydrogenase[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Arthralgia, arthrosis, bone necrosis, bone pain, joint disorder, leg cramps, myalgia, myasthenia, pathological fracture, neck pain[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 30%)
Frequency not reported: Acute brain syndrome, cerebrovascular disorder, convulsion, delirium, dementia, dizziness, encephalopathy, facial paralysis, hemiplegia, hyperesthesia, hypertonia, hypotony, incoordination, myoclonus, neuropathy, paresthesia, somnolence, tremor, twitching, ataxia, taste perversion, speech disorder, abnormal gait, peripheral neuritis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Dyspnea (up to 23%), increased cough (up to 19%)
Frequency not reported: Asthma, bronchitis, epistaxis, hemoptysis, hiccup, hyperventilation, hypoxia, increased sputum, larynx edema, lung disorder, pharyngitis, pneumothorax, rhinitis, sinusitis, hyperventilation[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Fever (up to 58%), asthenia (up to 43%), chills (up to 22%)
Frequency not reported: Ear disorder, ear pain, hyperacusis, otitis externa, otitis media, tinnitus, hearing loss, vertigo, malaise[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Infection (up to 28%)
Frequency not reported: Sepsis, flu-like syndrome


Frequency not reported: Abnormal dreams, agitation, amnesia, anxiety, confusion, depression, drug dependence, insomnia, personality disorder


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Some side effects of Vistide may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.