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All about: Foscavir

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Generic Name: Foscarnet (fos-KAR-net)
Brand Name: Foscavir

Foscavir may cause kidney damage or seizures. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience a change in the amount of urine. It is important you receive appropriate amounts of fluid (hydration) when Foscavir is used. Your doctor will monitor your blood and kidneys while you are using Foscavir .


Foscavir is used for:

Managing cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis (a viral infection that can lead to blindness) in patients with AIDS. It may also be used to treat resistant herpes simplex virus (HSV) of the skin or mucous membranes in patients with weakened immune systems who have failed to respond to standard treatment. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Foscavir is an antiviral agent. It works by inhibiting the growth and reproduction of viruses, which helps fight off infections caused by viruses.

Do NOT use Foscavir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Foscavir

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Foscavir :

Some medical conditions may interact with Foscavir . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a central nervous system disease or kidney problems
  • if you are dehydrated or have a blood condition (eg, anemia, electrolyte disturbances, low white blood cell counts)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Foscavir . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Aminoglycoside antibiotics (eg, gentamicin), amphotericin B, pentamidine, ritonavir, saquinavir, or other medicines that may harm the kidney because the risk of kidney side effects may be increased. Check with your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines may harm the kidney.
  • Medicines that may change the amount of calcium in your blood (eg, alendronate, risedronate). Check with your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines may change the amount of calcium in your blood.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Foscavir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Foscavir :

Use Foscavir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Foscavir is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • Foscavir is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using Foscavir at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • If Foscavir contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Foscavir may cause a burning sensation and irritation if it comes into contact with the skin or eye. If this happens, rinse the area with water.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Foscavir , contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Foscavir .

Important safety information:

  • Foscavir may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Foscavir . Using Foscavir alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Foscavir is not a cure for CMV infection, and the eye inflammation may progress during and after treatment.
  • Foscavir is not a cure for HSV infections. While complete healing is possible, the infection may return.
  • Lab tests, including eye exams, kidney function tests, and electrolyte levels, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Foscavir with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Foscavir is not recommended for use in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Foscavir during pregnancy. It is unknown if Foscavir is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Foscavir , check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Foscavir :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Anxiety; appetite loss; chills; confusion; decreased sensitivity to touch; depression; fatigue; general body discomfort; headache; involuntary muscle movements; joint pain; nausea; pain; rigid muscles; stomach pain; sweating; vision problems.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abnormal skin sensations; cough; decreased urination; diarrhea; dizziness; fainting; fast heartbeat; infection (fever, chills, sore throat); irregular heartbeat; numbness in hands, arms, legs, and feet; pain or redness at the injection site; rectal bleeding; seizures; tingling in fingers or around the mouth; unusual tiredness or weakness; urination problems; vomiting.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include numbness in the arms, legs, and around the mouth; seizures.

Proper storage of Foscavir :

Store Foscavir at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Foscavir out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Foscavir , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Foscavir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Foscavir . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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