Foscarnet SodiumOther Names: Foscavir Drug Class: Opportunistic Infections and Coinfections
What is foscarnet sodium?
Foscarnet sodium is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. acyclovir-resistant HSV infection, in people with weakened immune systems.(FDA) for the treatment of (CMV) (a viral Infection and inflammation of the eye’s ) in individuals with AIDS. Foscarnet sodium is also FDA-approved for the treatment of a certain type of herpes simplex (HSV) infection, called
CMV diseases—such as those affecting the eye (retinitis), esophagus (esophagitis), or colon (What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.)—and HSV diseases are opportunistic infections. An is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about opportunistic infections, read the AIDSinfo
Foscarnet sodium can also be used “off-label” to prevent and treat other opportunistic infections of HIV infection. “Off-label” use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used “off-label.”
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, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the(NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of foscarnet sodium to:
- CMV retinitis from recurring (called secondary or ). (This is an “off-label” use.)
- CMV retinitis.
- Other types of CMV disease, including CMV pneumonitis (infection and inflammation of the lungs) and CMV neurological disease (infection and disease of the nervous system). (This is an “off-label” use.)
- acyclovir-resistant HSV infection.
- Certain types of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) disease, including progressive outer retinal necrosis (an infection and inflammation of the eye’s retina) and VZV infections that are resistant to treatment with the drug acyclovir. (This is an “off-label” use.)
The above list may not include all of the HIV-related uses of foscarnet sodium recommended in the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents. 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?
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, or problems.
- About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as missing a scheduled or any health conditions that may prevent your use of medicines.
- 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 are infected with 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?
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?
- 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.
- 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?
More information about foscarnet sodium is available:
- Recommendations on the HIV-related uses of foscarnet sodium, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by CDC, NIH, and IDSA-HIVMA.
- Foscarnet sodium-related research studies, from the AIDSinfo database of study summaries.
The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Injection (solution).
Last Reviewed: December 9, 2016