People who have a compromised immune system, perhaps due to being infected with AIDS, or who have undergone an organ transplant, are the patients most likely to contract cytomegalovirus (CMT), and who will then require treatment such as ganciclovir. The viral infection which requires treatment occurs in the eyes, and the most effective way to halt the spread of this infection is by using an anti-viral medication such as this one.
Ganciclovir can be administered at home, either orally or by injection, but if you are self-administering the injectable form of this medication, it will be necessary to have a thorough understanding of the procedure from your doctor before attempting it at home. This means that you should be familiar with how to use syringes, and all other materials needed for home usage, and that you should ask your doctor any questions you may have about the process before home dosing.
It is generally better to take oral ganciclovir with food, so as to increase its absorption by the body, and if it is being injected this will not be as much of an issue, since it will be delivered directly into the bloodstream. It should be kept in mind that ganciclovir will not cure CMT disease, but will instead help to prevent the further spread of infection.
In addition to the beneficial effects imparted to a patient by ganciclovir, there may be some less desirable side effects that some patients will experience. It's possible that some people taking this medication will have no side effects whatsoever, while others may experience some of the side effects listed below to a mild or moderate degree. If you should experience side effects to the extent that they make you extremely uncomfortable, you should contact your doctor for some kind of treatment alternative. One of the most important side effects to be on the alert for is the potential for an allergic reaction to ganciclovir. The symptoms from an allergic reaction can worsen to the point where they can become life-threatening, so it's very important that you seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the side effects below which may indicate a potential allergic reaction.
There are specific side effects which may occur when using the oral capsule form of ganciclovir, or the form which is injected directly into a vein. Those side effects include all of the following:
When ganciclovir is injected into the eye, there is a possibility for the following side effects to occur:
There may be other side effects which come and go in the days following a dosage of ganciclovir. These are generally relatively mild, and they will often fade away all on their own, without the need for any kind of medical intervention. These side effects appear briefly and generally without causing extreme discomfort to the patient, and will subside as the body adjusts itself to the medication.
The dosing schedule for ganciclovir should be arranged such that there is a constant amount of the medication in the patient's bloodstream, since that is how this drug is used most effectively. It is also important for this medication to be taken with food, so as to ensure that it is entirely absorbed by the body, and will have an optimal chance to provide the intended benefits for a patient.
Even though the actual dosages for any given patient will vary based on a number of factors, the important thing to remember is that the schedule itself should be strictly adhered to, so as to maintain a desired level of the medication in the bloodstream.
Any patient being treated with ganciclovir, or any other prescription medication, will have the potential for interaction with other drugs, or with existing medical conditions the patient may already have. The kinds of interactions which are possible can produce adverse side effects in the patient, or the interactions may cause a decrease in the effectiveness of one or the other drugs.
In order to prevent these kinds of drug interactions, a doctor will need to know all the medications you are currently taking, so that such interactions can be prevented. To facilitate this process, you will need to prepare a full list of all the medications you are currently taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements, over-the-counter drugs, and all other prescription medications, as well as the dosage for each one of these.
After reviewing this list, your doctor can make a determination whether some drugs need to be discontinued temporarily, or possibly to reduce the dosage level of one or more of them, so as to avoid any potential conflicts. You can also use this list to take with you to any other healthcare clinic where your primary care doctor is not in residence, or if you have a need to visit an emergency room for unscheduled treatment. Any doctor at one of these healthcare facilities will be able to review your list of medications and be able to safely prescribe treatment for whatever condition brought you to the emergency room or clinic.
The drugs which are known to interact with Jen sick liver, and which most doctors will always check for before prescribing ganciclovir include all of the following:
In addition to interactions with other medications, there is a potential for ganciclovir to cause some kind of impact on an existing disease or medical condition you may have. Those medical conditions in this category include the following:
Patients being treated with ganciclovir should be aware of some precautions and warnings that are associated with the medication. Being alert to these situations beforehand will help you avoid serious medical situations that might put your health at risk. There is a potential for ganciclovir to significantly reduce the number of white blood cells present in the bloodstream, which in turn can increase the likelihood of sustaining some kind of infection. It also has the potential for lowering the count of platelets in your blood, and that can lead to less effective blood clotting.
If you should experience a bruise or a cut in some kind of accident, there would be a potential for you to bleed much more than normal, and it may be difficult to stop this bleeding. With this being the case, it is highly advised that you observe some of the following specific precautions related to the diminution of blood clotting efficiency, and lower count of white blood cells.
Make sure to keep all appointments with your primary care physician during the period you are being treated with ganciclovir, so that any kind of blood problems can be identified as quickly as possible, and serious medical conditions can be avoided.
If you are aware that you have CMV retinitis, you will also need to arrange for regular visits with your ophthalmologist, because of the potential for some kind of vision change or vision loss during the period you are being treated with ganciclovir.
It is extremely important that females of child-bearing age avoid the possibility of pregnancy while taking ganciclovir. Based on research which has been conducted on animal populations, this drug has been shown to carry the potential for birth defects in humans, as well as a wide range of other potential afflictions.
It is also extremely important that a mother does not breast-feed while being treated with ganciclovir, because this medication can be passed on through breast milk and can trigger serious adverse reactions in a nursing infant.
Prior to being prescribed for treatment with ganciclovir, it is highly advisable that a woman be tested for pregnancy, and while being treated with this medication, it is likewise very important that reliable contraceptive methods be used, so as to exclude the possibility of becoming pregnant.
Storage of the oral capsule form of ganciclovir should be at room temperature, in a setting where no extremes of temperature are possible, and where there is no excessive humidity. If you are self-administering the injectable form of ganciclovir, you should be very careful about the storage of needles and syringes, especially if there are small children in the household. When expired medication needs to be disposed of, make sure to follow disposal methods recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. When disposing of used needles and syringes, be sure to package them in a puncture-proof container prior to disposal.
Ganciclovir is an antiviral which is used in the treatment of CMV retinitis, and is generally indicated for patients who have compromised immune systems. This situation is common among AIDS patients, and with patients who have had to undergo an organ transplant. The medication itself is available in capsule form and can also be delivered intravenously. A fairly common program of treatment with this drug calls for an initial period of injections for two or three weeks, followed by several more weeks of capsule-form ingestion. It is always advised to take this medication with food, so as to increase its absorption into the bloodstream, and maintain its effectiveness.