Adverse Effects Contraindications and Drug Interactions

Myelosuppression is the most common serious adverse effect of ganciclovir treatment; therefore, patients' blood counts should be closely monitored. Neutropenia and anemia have been reported in 25 to 30% of patients, and thrombocytopenia has been seen in 5 to 10%. Elevated serum creatinine may occur following ganciclovir treatment, and dosage adjustment is required for patients with renal impairment. In animal studies, ganciclovir causes decreased sperm production, teratogenesis, and tumor formation.

Ganciclovir interacts with a number of medications, some of which are used to treat HIV or transplant patients. Ganciclovir may cause severe neutropenia when used in combination with zidovudine. Ganciclovir increases serum levels of didanosine, whereas probenecid decreases ganciclovir elimination. Nephrotoxicity may result if other nephrotoxic agents (e.g., amphotericin B, cyclosporine, NSAIDs) are administered in conjunction with ganciclovir.

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