1 What is Vitrasert?

Brand: Vitrasert

Generic: Ganciclovir

Vitrasert is an antiviral drug that is surgically implanted inside the eye. This implant is used for the treatment of a serious condition called Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in HIV-positive patients.

Vitrasert implant cannot completely cure this disease but it can keep the disease from getting worse. 

The implant can be surgically removed after your eye has consumed all the medicine in the implant (generally within 5 to 8 months). Another implant can be inserted at the same time.

The surgery, the implant or the medicine itself can cause some serious side effects, including eye infections, the formation of a cataract and detachment of the retina.

Before you receive this implant, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine and surgery will do as well as the risks involved.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription. This product is available in the implant dosage form.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Vitrasert, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the drug and will inform you about them.

Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:

Allergies: If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.

Age-specific problems: The data regarding the effects of this medicine specific to the pediatric age group is not yet available. Its safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 12 years of age. The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out yet.

Drug Interactions: Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand, certain drugs are allowed to be used together.

So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug. 

Furthermore, certain medications should not be administered with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco.

You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from especially:

  • Eye infection (Surgery on the eye is contraindicated)
  • Blood problems

3 Proper Usage

To use Vitrasert properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. The dose of this drug varies according to the condition of each person.

The dose in each implant, the time interval between the implants and the length of time you have to keep the implant depends on your condition individually and all these factors should only be determined by your healthcare provider.

Follow each and every instruction of your doctor.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Vitrasert, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor. You can expect blurred or decreased vision in the eye where the implant has been administered.

This blurred or decreased vision can last for 2 to 4 weeks after the surgery. Tell your doctor if the blurred or decreased vision gets worse, lasts for more than 4 weeks, or gets better for a while and then gets worse again.

Regular follow-up is necessary during and after the surgery. It is important to allow your doctor to monitor your progress and to make sure that there aren’t any side effects from the implant.

Contact your doctor if your symptoms have not improved even after taking the full course of treatment. Avoid taking any other medicine unless thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Always ask your doctor before using any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medicine.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Vitrasert.

Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately. Vitrasert has been associated with cancers in the animal studies.

During the first 2 months after the surgical implantation, this medication is associated with following side effects:

  • seeing flashes or sparks of light
  • the decrease in vision (severe)
  • swelling of the membrane covering the white part of the eye
  • red or bloodshot eye
  • eye pain or tearing
  • seeing floating spots before the eyes, or a veil or curtain appearing across part of the vision
  • eye irritation
  • blurred vision or other change in vision
  • the sensitivity of the eye to light
  • decreased vision or other change in vision

Seek medical help instantly, if you experience any of these symptoms while on this medication. Also, contact your healthcare professional immediately, if have overdosed on this drug. If any of these side effects becomes more bothersome or does not go away, contact your doctor.

6 Related Clinical Trials