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Foscavir

foscarnet sodium

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.

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24 mg/ml, 30 milliliters, Solution

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About Foscavir

Overview

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.

How to use

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. Therefore, 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.

Side effects

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 persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she 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: mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, anxiety), new vision problems, irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps/spasms, weakness, fast breathing, unusual tiredness, painful urination, irritation/sores on the penis, vaginal irritation/sores, signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat).

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: seizures.

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: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

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.

Warnings & Precautions

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: liver disease, kidney disease (including being on dialysis), dehydration, low electrolyte levels (calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphate), nervous system problems (such as a history of seizures), a low sodium diet.

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.

Storage

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.

Drug interactions

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: drugs that may harm the kidneys (including amphotericin B, cidofovir, aminoglycosides such as amikacin/gentamicin/tobramycin), pentamidine, "water pills" (diuretics), zidovudine.

Overdose

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. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: seizures, tingling around the mouth, numbness/tingling in arms/legs.

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Missed Doses:

It is important to use this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor right away to set up a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Notes:

Do not share this medication with others.

This medication is usually first given in the hospital where your condition can be monitored closely. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., kidney function, electrolytes levels, complete blood count, regular eye exams) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

Selected from the Licensed Solutions data included with permission and copyrighted by FDB, inc., 2014. This copyrighted material has been downloaded and Licensed data provider and is not for distribution in professional healthcare settings. This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking any drug or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. 

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