Drugs

Foscarnet Sodium

Foscarnet Sodium

Other Names: Foscavir Drug Class: Opportunistic Infections and Coinfections
What is foscarnet sodium?

What is foscarnet sodium?

Foscarnet sodium is an antiviral prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in individuals with AIDS. Foscarnet sodium is also FDA-approved for the treatment of a certain type of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, called mucocutaneous acyclovir-resistant HSV infection, in people with weakened immune systems.

CMV diseases—such as those affecting the eye (retinitis), esophagus (esophagitis), or colon (colitis)—and HSV diseases are opportunistic infections (OIs) of HIV. An OI is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the AIDSinfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.

How is foscarnet sodium used in people with HIV?

How is foscarnet sodium used in people with HIV?

The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents include recommendations on the uses of foscarnet sodium in people with HIV.

Using a medicine as indicated on the medicine label is called on-label use; using the medicine in a different way is called off-label use. Off-label use, for example, can include using a drug for a different disease or medical condition. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used off-label.

The guidelines include recommendations on the following uses of foscarnet sodium:

On-label uses:
  • Treat:
    • CMV retinitis
    • Mucocutaneous acyclovir-resistant HSV infection
Off-label uses:
  • Treat:
    • Other types of CMV disease, including CMV pneumonitis and CMV neurological disease
    • Certain types of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) disease, including progressive outer retinal necrosis and VZV infections that are resistant to treatment with the drug acyclovir
  • Prevent CMV retinitis from recurring

The above list may not include all of the HIV-related uses of foscarnet sodium recommended in the guidelines. Some recommended uses, such as uses in certain rare circumstances, may have been omitted.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking foscarnet sodium?

What should I tell my health care provider before taking foscarnet sodium?

Before taking foscarnet sodium, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to foscarnet sodium or any other medicines.
  • About any medical conditions you have or have had, for example, diabetes or liver problems.
  • About any health conditions that may prevent you from receiving medicine by injection or infusion.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether foscarnet sodium can harm an unborn baby is unknown. Foscarnet sodium should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed. Talk to your health care provider about possible risks with taking foscarnet sodium when pregnant.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Foscarnet sodium may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how foscarnet sodium works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between foscarnet sodium and the other medicines you take.

Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from foscarnet sodium. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.

How should I take foscarnet sodium?

How should I take foscarnet sodium?

Take foscarnet sodium according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much foscarnet sodium to take and when to take it. Before you start foscarnet sodium and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.

How should foscarnet sodium be stored?

How should foscarnet sodium be stored?

  • Store foscarnet sodium injection at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C), and protect it from excessive heat and from freezing.
  • Keep foscarnet sodium in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not use foscarnet sodium if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away foscarnet sodium that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep foscarnet sodium and all medicines out of reach of children.

Where can I find more information about foscarnet sodium?

Where can I find more information about foscarnet sodium?

More information about foscarnet sodium is available:

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Injection (solution).

Last Reviewed: January 10, 2019