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Generic Name: cidofovir (si DOF o veer)
Brand Name: Vistide
Physician reviewed cidofovir patient information - includes cidofovir description, dosage and directions.
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Drug Information:
Cidofovir is an antiviral medication that prevents certain viral cells from multiplying in your body. Cidofovir is used to treat an eye infection called cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV) in people who have AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Cidofovir is not a cure for CMV or AIDS. Cidofovir is for treating CMV only in people who have AIDS. Cidofovir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide. Cidofovir is for treating cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV) only in people who have AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Learn more

Cidofovir Side Effects

Cidofovir Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of cidofovir include: decreased creatinine clearance, hypotony of eye, increased serum creatinine, nephrotoxicity, neutropenia, and proteinuria. Other side effects include: decreased serum bicarbonate. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to cidofovir: intravenous solution


Intravenous route (Solution)

Acute renal failure resulting in dialysis or contributing to death has been reported. Use intravenous prehydration with normal saline and administration of probenecid with each cidofovir infusion to reduce nephrotoxicity. Monitor renal function within 48 hours prior to each dose and adjust dose as appropriate. Cidofovir is contraindicated in patients who are receiving other nephrotoxic agents. Neutropenia has been observed; monitor neutrophil counts during therapy. Cidofovir was carcinogenic, teratogenic, and caused hypospermia in animal studies.

Along with its needed effects, cidofovir may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Medicines like cidofovir can sometimes cause serious side effects such as blood problems and kidney problems; these are described below. Cidofovir has also been found to cause cancer in animals, and there is a chance it could cause cancer in humans as well. Discuss these possible side effects with your doctor.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking cidofovir:

More common

  • Fever, chills, or sore throat

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking cidofovir:

More common

  • Decreased urination
  • increased thirst and urination


  • Decreased vision or any change in vision

Some side effects of cidofovir may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Diarrhea
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Less common

  • Generalized weakness
  • loss of strength

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cidofovir: intravenous solution


The most commonly reported adverse events include proteinuria, increased serum creatinine, neutropenia, decreased serum bicarbonate, decreased intraocular pressure, fever, and infection.


Very common (10% or more): Proteinuria (up to 88%), elevated creatinine (up to 24%), nephrotoxicity (up to 59%)

Frequency not reported: Increased BUN

Nephrotoxicity may be irreversible. Renal impairment, including cases of acute renal failure resulting in dialysis and/or contributing to death, has occurred with as few as one or two doses of the drug. Proteinuria (greater than 2+), reduced creatinine clearance (less than or equal to 55 mL/min), and/or elevations of serum creatinine concentration (greater than 0.4 mg/dL) occurred in about 59% of patients receiving a maintenance dose of 5 mg/kg every other week. Toxic nephropathy has also been reported.


The risk of ocular hypotony may be increased in patients with diabetes mellitus.

Uveitis or iritis was reported in 15 (11%) of 135 patients who were administered the 5 mg/kg maintenance dose. Patients should be monitored for signs and symptoms of these complications and if they develop, treatment with topical corticosteroids with or without topical cycloplegic agents may be useful.

Very common (10% or more): Anterior uveitis/iritis (11%); decreased intraocular pressure (24%)

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Ocular hypotony

Frequency not reported: Abnormal vision, amblyopia, blindness, cataract, conjunctivitis, corneal lesion, corneal opacity, diplopia, dry eyes, eye pain, iritis, keratitis, refraction disorder, retinal detachment, retinal disorder, uveitis, visual field defect, miosis


Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (up to 23%), decreased serum bicarbonate (16%)

Common (1% to 10%): Fanconi-like syndrome

Frequency not reported: Weight loss, weight gain, thirst, respiratory alkalosis, hyperkalemia, hypophosphatemia, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, hyperglycemia, dehydration, hypocalcemia, cachexia, hypercalcemia, hyperlipidemia, hypoglycemia, hypoglycemic reaction, hyponatremia, hypoproteinemia, metabolic acidosis


Frequency not reported: Glycosuria


Very common (10% or more): Neutropenia (up to 43%), anemia (up to 24%)

Frequency not reported: Hypochromic anemia, leukocytosis, leukopenia, lymphadenopathy, lymphoma like reaction, pancytopenia, splenic disorder, splenomegaly, thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura


Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity, allergic reaction


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 69%), diarrhea (up to 26%). oral moniliasis (up to 18%)

Common (1% to 10%): Nausea with vomiting

Frequency not reported: Dyspepsia, constipation, abdominal pain, cholangitis, colitis, esophagitis, dysphagia, fecal incontinence, flatulence, gastritis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, gingivitis, melena, pancreatitis, proctitis, rectal disorder, stomatitis, aphthous stomatitis, tongue discoloration, mouth ulceration, tooth caries, dry mouth

Administration of probenecid after a meal and/or therapy with antiemetics may alleviate the nausea and vomiting associated with probenecid.


Frequency not reported: Cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular disorder, congestive heart failure, hypertension, hypotension, peripheral vascular disorder, phlebitis, postural hypotension, shock, syncope, tachycardia, vascular disorder, edema, chest pain


Very common (10% or more): Alopecia (up to 27%), rash (up to 30%)

Frequency not reported: Cellulitis, cyst, face edema, photosensitivity reaction, acne, angioedema, dry skin, eczema, exfoliative dermatitis, furunculosis, herpes, simplex nail disorder, pruritus, rash, seborrhea, skin discoloration, skin disorder, skin hypertrophy, skin ulcer, sweating, urticaria


Frequency not reported: Blocked catheter, injection site reaction


Frequency not reported: Adrenal cortex insufficiency


Frequency not reported: Hepatitis, hepatomegaly, hepatosplenomegaly, jaundice, abnormal liver function, liver damage, liver necrosis, increased transaminases, increased alkaline phosphatase, increased lactic dehydrogenase


Frequency not reported: Arthralgia, arthrosis, bone necrosis, bone pain, joint disorder, leg cramps, myalgia, myasthenia, pathological fracture, neck pain

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 30%)

Frequency not reported: Acute brain syndrome, cerebrovascular disorder, convulsion, delirium, dementia, dizziness, encephalopathy, facial paralysis, hemiplegia, hyperesthesia, hypertonia, hypotony, incoordination, myoclonus, neuropathy, paresthesia, somnolence, tremor, twitching, ataxia, taste perversion, speech disorder, abnormal gait, peripheral neuritis


Very common (10% or more): Dyspnea (up to 23%), increased cough (up to 19%)

Frequency not reported: Asthma, bronchitis, epistaxis, hemoptysis, hiccup, hyperventilation, hypoxia, increased sputum, larynx edema, lung disorder, pharyngitis, pneumothorax, rhinitis, sinusitis, hyperventilation


Very common (10% or more): Fever (up to 58%), asthenia (up to 43%), chills (up to 22%)

Frequency not reported: Ear disorder, ear pain, hyperacusis, otitis externa, otitis media, tinnitus, hearing loss, vertigo, malaise


Very common (10% or more): Infection (up to 28%)

Frequency not reported: Sepsis, flu-like syndrome


Frequency not reported: Abnormal dreams, agitation, amnesia, anxiety, confusion, depression, drug dependence, insomnia, personality disorder

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by BestRx Medical Team Last updated on 1/1/2020.

Source: Drugs.com Cidofovir