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Brand names:


Often used for:

Infections caused by cytomegalovirus or adenovirus

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What is cidofovir?

Cidofovir is an antiviral medication. It works to control illness due to cytomegalovirus (CMV) or adenovirus in patients with a weakened immune system. Cidofovir may also be used to treat a viral infection of the eye.

Patients receiving cidofovir may be given IV fluids and a medicine called probenecid to reduce side effects and help prevent kidney problems.

Patients will have regular tests including blood draws and urine tests to check blood counts and monitor liver and kidney function. Patients may also have tests to monitor vision and eye health.

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Given as a liquid into a vein by IV

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Possible side effects

  • Increased protein in urine (proteinuria)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Low neutrophil count (neutropenia)
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headache
  • Skin rash, itching
  • Infection
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Kidney problems
  • Anemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Thrush (oral yeast infection)
  • Eye problems, eye pain, or changes in vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Liver problems

Not all patients who take cidofovir will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Possible side effects with long-term use

  • Fertility problems
  • Cancer
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Tips for families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • While taking cidofovir, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. Follow the care team’s instructions for appropriate fluid intake.
  • Take probenecid as directed to help prevent kidney damage. Probenecid is usually given by mouth 3 hours before cidofovir infusion and 2 and 8 hours after the infusion is complete.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 3 months after completion of treatment.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions for safe handling and disposal of medicine and avoid contact with patient body fluids. Patient body fluids can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.