Valganciclovir (Valcyte)

Valganciclovir (Valcyte) is an anti-viral drug that is used to treat cytomegalovirus. It is a pro-drug of ganciclovir (Cyemevene), meaning that it is broken down in the body to produce the active drug. However, in contrast to ganciclovir, which must be injected into a vein or the eye for the best chances of treatment success, valganciclovir is available in tablet form.

A study comparing valganciclovir with intravenous ganciclovir for treating cytomegalovirus retinitis found the two treatments to be equally effective and tolerable after four weeks.1

Valganciclovir is dosed at 900mg (two 450mg tablets) twice daily for 21 days when treating active infection. The maintenance dose is 900mg once daily. It should be taken with food to maximise bioavailability.

Valganciclovir tablets cause a similar range and incidence of side-effects to those associated with intravenous ganciclovir. These include blood problems (neutropenia, anaemia and low platelets), diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain, as well as fever, headache, problems sleeping, abnormal sensations and peripheral neuropathy.2 It can also cause detachment of the retina.


  1. Martin D et al. A controlled trial of valganciclovir as induction therapy for cytomegalovirus retinitis. N Engl J Med 346: 1119-1126, 2002
  2. Lalezari J et al. A safety study of oral valganciclovir maintenance treatment of cytomegalovirus retinitis. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 30: 392-400, 2002

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.