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Common Brand Name(s): Foscavir, Vocarvi
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
This medication is used only for cytomegalovirus (CMV) eye infections and acyclovir-resistant herpes infections.
Foscarnet may cause very serious kidney problems. Tell your doctor right away if you develop signs of kidney problems, such as a change in the amount of urine. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose.
This medication has caused seizures in some people due to changes in blood chemistry (minerals and electrolytes). Your doctor may prescribe additional minerals and/or electrolytes to prevent seizures.
It is important that you receive appropriate amounts of fluid (hydration) while using this medication.
Your doctor will monitor your blood and kidneys while you are using this medication.
This medication is used to control cytomegalovirus (CMV) eye infections (CMV retinitis) in persons with AIDS. This medication is an antiviral that works by stopping the growth of viruses. Controlling CMV retinitis can help decrease the risk of blindness from the infection. Foscarnet is sometimes combined with another antiviral drug, ganciclovir, when the CMV infection does not respond to either drug used alone for treatment.
This medication is also used to treat herpes infections (HSV) that do not respond to treatment with acyclovir (acyclovir-resistant).
This medication is not a cure for CMV or HSV diseases.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used to reduce the risk of CMV disease in people receiving cancer treatment (such as chemotherapy).
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting. If you are using this medication at home, learn all preparation and usage instruction from your health care professional. If you have any questions about using this medication properly, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Before using this product, check it visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. It is usually infused slowly over 1 to 2 hours using an infusion pump. Infusing this medication too quickly can result in serious side effects. Do not mix with any other medications. When starting this medication, you will receive 2 to 3 doses per day for the first 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. This starting period is called "induction." Once induction is completed, you will then be given this medication usually once a day for the remainder of treatment. Dosage is based on your weight, kidney function, medical condition, and response to treatment.
To prevent kidney damage, it is important to drink plenty of fluids while using this medication. Fluids may be given by vein to make sure you get enough.
Antivirals work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Use this drug at evenly spaced intervals.
It is very important to continue using this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping treatment too soon may result in ineffective treatment.
Do not use more of this drug or infuse it more often or faster than prescribed by your doctor. Your condition will not improve faster, and you may experience side effects.
If skin contact occurs, flush with plenty of water. If irritation occurs, contact your doctor right away.
Learn how to store and discard needles, medical supplies, and any unused medication safely. Consult your pharmacist. Never reuse needles or syringes.
See also Warning section.
Because this medication is used in patients who use other medications, it is difficult to tell which side effects are caused by foscarnet. Nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, dizziness, loss of appetite, and increased sweating have been reported. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that 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 right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
You may experience redness, irritation, or pain at the injection site. Tell your doctor if this occurs. Also tell your doctor if you experience tingling or numbness of the hands or feet, or tingling around your mouth during or after the infusion. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
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 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using foscarnet, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; 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:
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the effects on developing bones.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially kidney problems.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible harm to the infant, breast-feeding is not recommended.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: seizures, tingling around the mouth, numbness/tingling in arms/legs.
Do not share this medication with others.
This medication is usually first given in the hospital where your condition can be monitored closely. Lab and/or medical tests (such as kidney function, electrolytes levels, complete blood count, regular eye exams) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is important to get this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away for a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Store at room temperature away from light and heat. Keep below 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised December 2022.
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