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Ganciclovir

Last updated on 25/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Ganciclovir

CHINESE NAME: 更昔洛韋

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Cymevene 賽美維, Virgan

DRUG CLASS: Antivirals

SUB CLASS: Guanine nucleoside analog, Viral DNA Polymerase Inhibitors

USED FOR: Cytomegalovirus infections, Herpes simplex keratitis

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS:
– 1.5mg/g (eye gel)
– 250mg, 500mg (injection)
– 50mg/ml (powder for oral solution)
– 450mg (tablets)

What is Ganciclovir for?

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a type of herpes virus. It usually infects salivary glands, but it can affect different parts of the body. Ganciclovir is indicated for treating CMV retinitis, pneumonitis and colitis for immunocompromised patients, such as HIV patients. It blocks the virus from replication by inhibiting DNA polymerase of viruses.

How to use it?

There are topical eye gels for retinitis, tablets and powder for oral use, and injections. The eye gel is applied to the inferior conjunctival sac of the affected eyes.

Acute herpetic keratitis
Adult
Ganciclovir eye gel: Apply 5 times daily until healing completes. Then, apply 3 times daily for 7 more days. Treatment usually ends in 21 days.

CMV retinitis
Adult
Oral Ganciclovir: 1 g three times daily or 500 mg 6 times daily separated by 3 hours each dose.

CMV infection
Adult

Intravenous Ganciclovir:
Infused over an hour.
Induction: 5 mg/kg twice daily for 14-21 daily.
Maintenance: 5 mg/kg once daily for 7 days weekly or 6 mg/kg once daily for 5 days weekly.

Prophylaxis of CMV infections in immunocompromised patients
Adult

Intravenous Ganciclovir:
Infused over an hour.
Induction: 5 mg/kg twice daily for 7-14 daily.
Maintenance: 5 mg/kg once daily for 7 days weekly or 6 mg/kg once daily for 5 days weekly.

Oral Ganciclovir:
1 g three times daily.

What are the side effects of Ganciclovir?

Common side effects of Ganciclovir eye drops include eye stinging and punctate keratitis. Common side effects for its injection include anemia, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting, nausea and skin reactions.

Who should not take Ganciclovir?

– Pregnant, breastfeeding and childbearing women
– Preconception men
– Patients with low hemoglobin, neutrophil or platelet counts
– People who are allergic to ganciclovir, valganciclovir or any components in the formulations. 

Pharmacist Tips:

– Contraception is needed for 30 days and 90 days after treatment for childbearing women and preconception men respectively
– Dose adjustment is required for renal impairment patients
– Complete blood count has to be monitored
– The eye gel is applied to the inferior conjunctival sac of the affected eyes.

Common dosing schedule:
Please refer to your medical professionals. 

Some common medications Ganciclovir may interact with:
– Phenylacetic acids, e.g. Diclofenac, Aceclofenac
– Some antiretrovirals, e.g. Adefovir, Cidofovir
– 2-arylpropionic acid derivatives, e.g. Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen
– Cancer drugs, e.g. Imatinib, Cisplatin
– Immunosuppressants, e.g. Methotrexate, Mercaptopurine

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Ganciclovir in Hong Kong? 

In Hong Kong, Ganciclovir is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Ganciclovir in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.