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  • Generic Name: (valganciclovir hydrochloride)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 11/2015
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Valcyte is a medicine used to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV) (a viral infection) of the eye in people with HIV infections (AIDS). Valcyte is also used to prevent CMV disease in people who have received a kidney, heart, or kidney-pancreas transplant. Valcyte is available as a tablet and an oral solution.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      Valcyte is not a cure for CMV retinitis. You may still get retinitis or worsening of retinitis during or after treatment with Valcyte. It is important to stay under your healthcare provider's care and have your eyes checked every 4-6 weeks.

      How does this medication work?

      Valcyte works by lowering the ability of the virus to multiply in your body, thereby reducing your symptoms.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?


      CMV Infection of the Eyes: Valcyte may help your infection heal faster.

      Post-Transplant Prevention of CMV Disease: Valcyte may prevent CMV infection in people who have received a heart, kidney, or kidney-pancreas transplant.

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Valcyte exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

      How do I know it is working?

      You may start to notice an improvement in your symptoms after you start taking Valcyte. This is a good indicator that your medication is working. Your healthcare provider may ask you questions and order tests to assess how well your infection is being treated.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      Valcyte may cause neutropenia (a decrease in the number of white blood cells that fight infection), thrombocytopenia (a decrease in the number of platelets [type of blood cells that form clots to help stop bleeding), and anemia (low red blood cell counts). Your healthcare provider may monitor your blood cell counts and may adjust your dose as needed.

      Valcyte has been shown to increase the risk of cancer and birth defects, as well as decrease sperm count when studied in animals.

      More common side effects in adults and children may include: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, shaky movements, rejection of the transplanted organ, low white cell, red cell, and platelet counts.

      Other common side effects in children may include: headache, high blood pressure, upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Valcyte may cause severe kidney problems and seizures.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not take Valcyte if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or to a similar medicine called ganciclovir.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Valcyte. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney or blood problems; are receiving hemodialysis or radiation treatment; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      CMV Infection of the Eye

      Adults: The recommended starting dose is 900 milligrams (mg) twice a day for 21 days.

      Post Heart/Kidney-Pancreas Transplant Prevention of CMV Disease

      Adults: The recommended dose is 900 mg once a day, starting within 10 days of transplant until 100 days post-transplant.

      Post Kidney Transplant Prevention of CMV Disease

      Adults: The recommended dose is 900 mg once a day starting within 10 days of transplant until 200 days post-transplant.

      Post Heart or Kidney Transplant Prevention of CMV Disease

      Children 4 months-16 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/her body weight and height.

      If you have kidney impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Take Valcyte exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Valcyte without first talking to your healthcare provider.

      Take Valcyte with food.

      Do not break or crush Valcyte tablets and avoid contact with your skin and eyes. If you come in contact with the contents of the tablet or oral solution, wash your skin well with soap and water or rinse your eyes with water.

      If you are giving Valcyte oral solution to your child, be sure to use the dosing dispenser to measure your child's dose.

      When your medicine starts to run low, get more from your healthcare provider or pharmacy. Do not run out of Valcyte. The virus in your blood may increase and the virus may become harder to treat.

      If you are a woman of child-bearing age, use effective birth control while you are taking Valcyte and for at least 30 days after stopping Valcyte.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Valcyte affects you.

      Do not miss any follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Valcyte is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Valcyte with the following: didanosine, mycophenolate, probenecid, or zidovudine.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      The effects of Valcyte during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Mothers with HIV-1 should not breastfeed because HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      If you miss a dose of Valcyte, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store tablets at room temperature. Store oral solution in the refrigerator for up to 49 days. Do not freeze.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
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