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Valcyte or generic Valganciclovir Hydrochloride is an antiviral drug prescribed for immune suppressed individuals that are unable to fight the cytomegalovirus (CMV), an opportunistic infection that can affect your eyes or internal organs. Patients that have received an organ transplant will be given immunosuppressant drugs to reduce the possibility of rejection. While your immune system is decreased, you stand a higher chance of being susceptible to CMV. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Valcyte is a pro-drug, which means that once inside your body; the active ingredient is changed to ganciclovir. It then goes to work by blocking the action of a certain enzyme found in the cytomegalovirus that is vital for the virus to be able to multiply. This action prevents CMV from reproducing and your immune system is able to better control the virus. There is no cure for CMV, but there are medications such as Valcyte that can help to prevent or control it to reduce your symptoms.
Cytomegalovirus first became a medical problem during the 80’s and was an integral clue to the discovery of HIV and AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). CMV did not normally manifest any symptoms in healthy people and is now referred to as an indicator infection as many people may not be aware they have HIV until the cytomegalovirus is contracted and diagnosed. In immunocompromised people, infection with CMV can lead to complications such as a condition called CMV retinitis. This causes severe inflammatory changes in the retina of the eye, which can lead to blindness.
Babies that become infected while in the womb may appear healthy at birth but can develop symptoms, such as hearing loss or impaired vision, later on. Immunosuppressed adults may present with fever, seizures, ulcers, or hepatitis. Healthy individuals may feel fatigued, have a fever, and muscle aches that resemble the symptoms of mononucleosis. CMV can be passed on through direct contact with body fluids (semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, saliva, blood, and urine).
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast-feeding as Valcyte can cause birth defects or affect a nursing baby. Tell your doctor about other health conditions you have so it can be decided if Valcyte is the right course of treatment. List any Rx drugs, OTC meds, and include herbal remedies and vitamin supplements as any of these could affect the efficacy of Valcyte or cause a negative interaction.
Women are advised to take a reliable form of birth control and men are advised to use a condom during treatment and for up to three months after. Valcyte tablets should not be broken or crushed, but swallowed whole with water. All drugs should be stored out of children’s reach and never share them with anyone else.