Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir

Molecule Description

Ganciclovir is an antiviral medicine used in the treatment of viral infections.

Uses of Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir

  • Swelling of the layers of the eye that can lead to blindness (cytomegalovirus retinitis)
  • Viral infection of the eye caused by the herpes simplex virus (herpes simplex keratitis)
  • Prevention of virus that spreads through body secretions like saliva (cytomegalovirus infections) in patients with low immunity

Contraindications of Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir

When should one not use Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir

Allergic to Ganciclovir or other antiviral medicines.

Side effects of Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Breathlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood count
  • Headache
  • Convulsions
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Deafness

Precautions and Warnings of Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir



Can I take Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir during pregnancy?
It is probably unsafe to take this medicine during pregnancy. Pregnancy should be avoided while taking this medicine and 30 days following the medication. For males, 90 days holding period is required after stopping the medication.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir while breastfeeding?
It is probably unsafe to take this medicine during breastfeeding as it may pass into breast milk.


Can I drive if I have consumed Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir?
Taking this medicine may lead to cause decreased alertness, dizziness and sleepiness. Hence, it is better to avoid driving.


Can I consume alcohol with Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir?
No specific interactions with alcohol have been reported yet.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • If you have any kidney problems, a lower dose and frequent blood counting may be required during treatment
  • Low blood count (white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets)
  • Decreased blood count following drug intake
  • Radiotherapy

Mode of Action of Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir

How Does It Work?

Ganciclovir prevents the multiplication of the viral cells and stops the virus from forming new viruses and clears up your infection.

Interactions of Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir

Interactions with other medicines

  • Medicines which affect immunity of your body like cancer therapy drugs or HIV medicines
  • Medicines that may affect kidney (such as Cyclosporine)

Interactions with food items

Food increases the levels of Ganciclovir in your body. Ganciclovir should be taken with or immediately after a meal.

Dosage of Gancyclovir / Ganciclovir


  • Symptoms of ganciclovir overdose are:
  • Low count of white blood cell (WBC)
  • Reduction in production of cells responsible for providing immunity
  • Decrease in all blood counts
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Involuntary shaking or movement of limbs (commonly affecting hands, legs, face, head or vocal cords)
  • Convulsions
  • If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency medical care immediately

Missed a Dose

Take the missed dose as early as you remember. Skip the missed dose, and do not take extra medicine to compensate for the missed dose.

Content Details


Dr. Rukman Mecca

MBBS, MD (Community Medicine)


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What should I discuss with my healthcare expert before taking Ganciclovir?

A: Give a detailed account of your medical and surgical history. Also, mention to your doctor all the prescription and non-prescription medicines, herbal preparations and nutritional supplements that you may be taking before starting this medication. Inform your doctor if you drive or operate machinery as the medicine may cause dizziness, convulsions, etc.

Q: Any special precautions?

A: If using Ganciclovir for genital herpes, use a condom for contraception to avoid virus transmission to your partner. Avoid using the medicine in cases of kidney disorders.

Q: When and how to consume this medicine?

A: The medicine is available as an oral tablet to be taken with food along with a glass of water. It also comes as a solution which is to be administered through the vein over one hour. As an eye drop, one drop should be placed in each eye until healing is seen. All doses should be administered as directed by the physician.
Last Updated on: 24 Dec 2020 | 01:48 PM (IST)

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