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Synonyms: Valcyte, Cytovene, Vitrasert
Cymevene (Ganciclovir) is an antiviral medicine, which is used specifically to treat or prevent life-threatening or sight-threatening infections caused by a virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV). Cymevene (Ganciclovir) works by blocking the action of a viral component called DNA polymerase. This compound is required by the virus for it to copy genetic material (from RNA to DNA), a process that is needed for the virus to multiply and survive. Cymevene (Ganciclovir) is also incorporated into the viral DNA. By blocking the action of DNA polymerase and disrupting viral DNA, ganciclovir prevents CMV from multiplying. Normally the body fights viral infections with a type of white blood cell called T-lymphocytes. In certain situations, the number of these cells is decreased, leaving the body with a reduced ability to fight infection. This occurs in people with HIV or AIDS, and people having medical treatment that suppresses the immune system (eg chemotherapy or following organ transplants). These people are referred to as being immunocompromised, and are more likely to become infected with CMV. Cymevene (Ganciclovir) is given as an intravenous infusion to treat life-threatening or sight-threatening cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in immunocompromised people. Cymevene (Ganciclovir) is only given by mouth as capsules for the maintenance treatment of CMV infection of the eye (retinitis) in people with AIDS. It is only used following at least three weeks of intravenous therapy, and only if the condition is stable. Cymevene (Ganciclovir) is also given to prevent CMV infection in people who have had kidney or liver transplants, as these people will be immunosuppressed. In this situation either the infusion or capsules can be used.
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