Before taking valganciclovir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to ganciclovir or acyclovir; 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, especially of:
- kidney problems (such as kidney dialysis)
- a low number of blood cells (red or white blood cells, platelets)
- radiation treatment
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug.
Based on animal studies, this medication may reduce fertility in men and women.
Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. To prevent pregnancy, men with female partners should always use effective barrier protection (such as latex or polyurethane condoms) during all sexual activity during treatment and for at least 90 days after stopping the medication. Women of child-bearing age who are taking valganciclovir should use at least 2 reliable forms of birth control (such as birth control pills and condoms). Consult your doctor for more details.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. It may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Therefore, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding. If you have HIV, do not breast-feed because breast milk can transmit HIV.
See also Warning section.
Diarrhea, upset stomach, dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, or shaking (tremors) 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 the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur:
- mental/mood changes (such as confusion, hallucinations)
- change in the amount of urine
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- 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.
Valganciclovir turns into the drug ganciclovir inside your body. Ganciclovir can decrease bone marrow function. This serious, possibly life-threatening side effect may lead to a low number of blood cells such as red cells, white cells, and platelets. This effect can cause anemia, decrease your body's ability to fight an infection, and cause bleeding problems. Your doctor will check the results of your blood tests and adjust your treatment to reduce your risk for these side effects. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of anemia (such as unusual tiredness, fast breathing, pale skin, fast heartbeat), signs of infection (such as fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat), and signs of bleeding (such as easy bruising/bleeding, nose bleeds, bleeding gums, bloody/black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds).
Ganciclovir has caused decreased sperm production in animals and may decrease the ability of men to father a baby.
Ganciclovir has caused tumors in laboratory animals. Although there is no information in humans, valganciclovir should be considered cancer-causing (carcinogenic). See also How to Use and Precautions sections.