Zirgan vs Viroptic – Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Differences


It is the brand name of a drug called ganciclovir ophthalmic, an antiviral medicine that slows the growth and spread of the cytomegalovirus.


It is typically used to treat eye ulcers caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes simplex virus is commonly transmitted through contact with infected saliva (for example, eating from the same utensils, through kissing, or sharing personal items).

Eye disease due to herpes simplex virus is the leading infectious cause of unilateral corneal blindness in the United States and the European Union and the main cause of ocular morbidity (eye diseases that include both non-visual impairing and visually impairing conditions).


The usual recommended dose is 1 drop in the affected eye 5 times a day until the corneal ulcer heals. Then 1 drop 3 times a day for one week. This medication is not recommended for children below the age of 2 years because its efficiency and safety have not been established.

Note – it will not work for other types of eye infections, like those caused by bacteria. You should not wear contact lenses during the therapy with this medication or if you have signs or symptoms of herpetic keratitis (viral infection of the eye caused by the herpes simplex virus).

To avoid contaminating this medication, it is recommended that the tip of the dispensing dropper should not be allowed to touch any object.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Ganciclovir

Common side effects may include:

Rare side effects may include:

  • burning or itching of your eyes;
  • eye pain, redness, swelling, or watering;
  • white patches on the eyes;
  • vision changes;
  • problems with peripheral vision;
  • increased sensitivity to light;
  • cloudiness on the iris of the eyes;
  • cloudiness in the pupils;
  • seeing halos around lights;
  • seeing flashes of light;
  • sudden vision loss;
  • crusting of your eyes.

To make sure you can safely use this medication, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • an infection in any part of your body;
  • low levels of platelets in your blood.

It is not known exactly whether this medication can pass into the milk, therefore avoid it if you are breastfeeding a baby. Because it will increase the risks of side effects, don’t smoke tobacco or drink alcoholic beverages while using this medication.


It is the brand name of a drug called trifluridine that belongs to a group of drugs known as antivirals. It works by interrupting the reproductive cycle of specific viruses by substituting parts of their DNA.

This medication was first approved for medical use in the United States by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1980.


It is commonly used to treat eye infections caused by the herpes simplex virus. Untreated, these infections can lead to swelling or ulcers in the cornea or eyelids.

Moreover, this medication is useful in the treatment of epithelial keratitis (a type of keratitis caused by recurrent herpes simplex virus) which has not responded to the topical administration of idoxuridine (an anti-herpesvirus antiviral drug) or when hypersensitivity to idoxuridine has occurred.

Also, this medication is a component of trifluridine/tipiracil, an anti-cancer drug used for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.


The usual recommended dose of this eye drop solution is one drop into the affected eye every 2 hours. Do not use more than 9 drops in the course of one day. After the first day of treatment, use it for an additional seven days with 1 drop every 4 hours for a minimum daily dosage of 5 drops.

Do not exceed treatment beyond 21 days. Also, to avoid contamination, do not touch the dropper tip or let it come into contact with any other surface.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Trifluridine 

Common side effects may include:

  • dry eyes;
  • mild eye irritation;
  • puffy eyelids;
  • eye redness.

Rare side effects may include:

  • feeling like something is in the eye;
  • increased sensitivity to light;
  • red, watery eyes;
  • severe stinging, burning, or irritation after using this drug;
  • new vision problems.

Some people can experience an allergic reaction, with symptoms including:

  • swelling of the mouth, face, tongue, lips, or throat;
  • unusual hoarseness;
  • problems breathing or talking;
  • tightness in the chest or throat;
  • wheezing;
  • peeling skin with or without fever;
  • itching;
  • rash;
  • hives.

Because this medication may cause blurred vision, it is recommended to be careful if you drive a car until you known how it affects you.

There are no conclusive clinical studies regarding its safe use by pregnant and lactating women. Therefore, it should not be used by nursing mothers or pregnant women unless the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Zirgan vs Viroptic – Differences

Zirgan (active ingredient – ganciclovir) is prescribed for the treatment of acute herpetic keratitis. It works by slowing the growth and spread of the cytomegalovirus.

Viroptic (active ingredient – trifluridine) is an antiviral medication used for the topical treatment of epithelial keratitis caused by herpes simplex virus.

Natural Remedies For Herpes Simplex Infections

#1 Avoid Foods High In Arginine

Herpes simplex is a virus that needs the amino acid arginine (a α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins) to replicate and multiply within the human body. Foods which have high levels of arginine include – peanuts, chocolate, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, filberts, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, gelatin, coconut, wheat germ, and buckwheat.

#2 Red Vegetables And Fruits

These fruits and vegetables have high levels of antioxidants, like – bioflavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C that boost overall immunity. Foods rich in carotenoids include – kale, spinach, turnip greens, dandelion greens, arugula, mustard seeds, zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, pumpkin, and corn.

#3 Garlic

Garlic has potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects which help combat herpes outbreaks. Moreover, the content of allicin present in garlic may have effective antiviral properties.

Image credit – Shutterstock & Getty

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