What is Zirgan Uses, warnings & interactions
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Zirgan (ganciclovir) is a brand-name topical eye medication that is manufactured by Bausch & Lomb. It was approved in 2009 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat eye infections caused by the herpes simplex virus. It can be used in adults and pediatric patients 2 years of age and older.
If your doctor has prescribed Zirgan to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Zirgan is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Zirgan used for?
Zirgan is a topical antiviral eye medication that is used to treat acute herpetic keratitis (corneal ulcers).
How does Zirgan work?
Ganciclovir is a guanosine derivative that, when activated, blocks DNA replication by herpes simplex viruses (HSV).
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Zirgan?
- 0.15% topical ophthalmic gel
Before taking Zirgan
Before using Zirgan, tell your doctor about your medical conditions, including:
- Allergy to ganciclovir or acyclovir
- Active infection in another part of your body
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Zirgan
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Drug Information, and Medication Guide that comes with Zirgan.
- Use Zirgan exactly as your doctor prescribes it to you. Do not change your dose or stop taking this medication without discussing it with them first.
- One drop of Zirgan gel is typically applied in the affected eye(s) 5 times a day (around every 3 hours while awake) until the ulcer heals. Once the ulcer is healed, you apply 1 drop 3 times a day for 7 additional days.
- Wash your hands before and after each use. To prevent contamination, do not touch the dropper on any surface, including the eye.
- If you miss a dose of Zirgan, apply it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and start back on your regular schedule.
- Store Zirgan at room temperature between 59° to 77°F (15° to 25°C) away from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight.
You should not take Zirgan if you have an allergy to ganciclovir or any of the inactive ingredients in this product.
- Zirgan is a topical eye gel. You should not take it by mouth or use it on any other part of your body.
- You should not wear contact lenses while using Zirgan or if you have symptoms of an eye infection.
Zirgan drug interactions
When Zirgan is taken with other medications, it may change the way they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. You should discuss with your doctor whether any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may interact with this medication.
Zirgan side effects
Some common side effects of Zirgan include:
- Blurred vision
- Eye irritation
- Conjunctival hyperemia (redness)
- Eye pain
Zirgan can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Serious allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and shortness of breath)
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible side effects you experience while taking Zirgan. You can report your adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your doctor can prescribe other medications if Zirgan is not right for you. They will vary by factors such as side effects and cost. Some FDA-approved alternatives to Zirgan include:
Can you take Zirgan while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate or well-controlled studies on the use of Zirgan during pregnancy. It should only be used if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks to the unborn baby. It is not known if Zirgan is found in breast milk or the effects it may have on the breastfed infant. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
How effective is Zirgan?
According to the manufacturer, a clinical trial showed that 77% of patients treated with Zirgan had healed ulcers at day 7 compared to 72% of patients treated with acyclovir.
Is Zirgan used to treat shingles?
Zirgan is an antiviral medication but it is not used to treat shingles. It is used to treat herpes infection of the eye. Zovirax (acyclovir) is another common antiviral medication that is used to treat shingles as well as chicken pox and genital herpes.
How long does it take Zirgan to work?
You typically have to take Zirgan (ganciclovir ophthalmic gel) 5 times a day for a week to heal eye ulcers from HSV. Once the ulcer has healed you will need to take Zirgan 3 times a day for another 7 days.
Is Zirgan an antibiotic?
No, Zirgan is an antiviral eye gel that is used to treat an eye infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It will not work on bacterial eye infections.
How much does Zirgan cost?
Currently, there is no generic Zirgan available on the market. The average cost of a 5g tube of Zirgan 0.15% gel is around $500. However, you can save on brand-name drugs like Zirgan through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.