Zirgan or generic Ganciclovir Ophthalmic Gel is an antiviral medication prescribed to treat the herpes simplex keratitis that can range from a simple infection to an extreme eye condition that can affect your ocular nerves and result in blindness. This eye infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and once infected, HSV can become dormant in your body and may or may not reactivate again. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
If the infection does reoccur, it can infect your cornea and cause symptoms of sinusitis, dull pain deep in your eye, and dryness. Usually only one eye at a time is involved in this infection and may resolve quickly if this is the primary infection. Any recurrences that follow can be more severe with the appearance of dendritic ulcers so it’s important that you have your eyes examined regularly.
When administered as directed, Zirgan will be converted into Ganciclovir monophosphate and converted again to a more active form inside the infected cells. Now Ganciclovir Ophthalmic Gel will work to block the action of a viral enzyme the virus needs in order to grow and multiply called DNA polymerase. Without this enzyme, the viruses are unable to copy their genetic material from their RNA (ribonucleic acid) to DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and the virus will be controlled and transported through the nerve deep in your body and lay dormant.
There are a number of triggers that can ‘awaken’ HSV, including stress, fever, exposure to sunlight, certain drugs, menstruation, and any trauma to your body. The herpes virus will typically infect the mucous membrane that covers your eye and inside the eyelids (conjunctiva), and your cornea. Every time the infection recurs in your eye, there is a bigger risk that your cornea will become scarred from dendritic ulcers. This can eventually cause vision loss over time. Zirgan is also for treating cytomegalovirus retinitis which can invade your retina.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast feeding as there may be risks to your unborn or nursing baby. Discuss other medical conditions and allergies with your doctor and list all OTC or Rx drugs and supplements you currently take or use. This will help to determine if Zirgan is the best eye medication for your situation.
There is no cure for HSV, only meds that can help treat your symptoms. After administering Zirgan, do not drive, operate machinery, or attempt any task that requires proper vision until the effects have worn off. Any time you have an active eye infection or ocular ulcers, you should not wear contact lenses until your doctor agrees that it is alright to do so. Zirgan is not to be administered to children under 2 years old.