Ganciclovir is used to treat herpes infection of the eye. Although ganciclovir stops the growth of the virus, it is not a cure for the herpes infection. Herpes virus continues to live in the body even between outbreaks of infection. However, treating an outbreak may help the sores in the eye to heal faster and lower the risk of complications (such as decreased vision, blindness).
Ganciclovir is an anti-viral drug. This medication treats only herpes eye infections. It will not work for other types of eye infections, such as those caused by bacteria. Unnecessary use or misuse of any anti-infective drug can lead to its decreased effectiveness.
Apply this medication to the affected eye as directed by your doctor, usually 5 times a day (about every 3 hours while awake) until the eye has healed, and then 3 times a day for 7 more days.
To apply eye medication, wash your hands first. To avoid contamination, do not touch the dropper tip or let it touch your eye or any other surface.
Do not wear contact lenses while you have an eye infection or while using this medication. Sterilize contact lenses according to the manufacturer's directions, and check with your doctor before you begin using them again.
Tilt your head back, look upward, and pull down the lower eyelid to make a pouch. Hold the dropper directly over your eye and place one drop into the pouch. Look downward, gently close your eyes, and place one finger at the corner of your eye (near the nose). Apply gentle pressure for 1 to 2 minutes before opening your eyes. This will prevent the medication from draining out. Try not to blink or rub your eye. Repeat these steps for your other eye if so directed. Wait several minutes for your vision to clear before driving or operating machinery.
Do not rinse the dropper. Replace the dropper cap after each use.
If you are using another kind of eye medication (such as drops or ointments), wait at least 5 minutes between applying each medication. Use eye drops before eye ointments to allow the drops to enter the eye.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day. Continue using it for the full time prescribed. Stopping the medication too early may allow the virus to continue to grow.
Temporary blurred vision after you apply this medication and mild eye irritation/redness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using ganciclovir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to valganciclovir; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history.
This drug may cause temporary blurred vision after each application. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If swallowing or overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another infection unless told to do so by your doctor. A different medication may be necessary in that case.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as eye exams) may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature between 59-77 degrees F (15-25 degrees C). Protect from freezing. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised March 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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