Generic Name: famciclovir (fam-SYE-kloe-vir)
Brand Name: Famvir

Famvir is used for:

Treating herpes zoster infection (shingles). It is also used to treat recurring herpes skin infections in patients who also have HIV infection. Famvir is also used to treat recurring cold sores and to treat or suppress recurring genital herpes. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Famvir is an antiviral. It works by blocking reproduction of the virus.

Do NOT use Famvir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Famvir or to penciclovir

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using Famvir:

Some medical conditions may interact with Famvir. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have kidney or liver problems, immune system problems, or certain rare hereditary problems (galactose intolerance, severe lactase deficiency, glucose-galactose malabsorption)
  • if you take probenecid or take any other medicines or products to treat herpes outbreaks

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Famvir. However, no specific interactions with Famvir are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if Famvir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Famvir:

Use Famvir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with Famvir. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take Famvir by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • If you are treating genital herpes or cold sores, start using Famvir at the first sign of an outbreak or cold sore (eg, tingling, itching, burning, pain, lesion) as directed by your doctor.
  • If you are treating shingles, cold sores, genital herpes, or herpes skin infection, take Famvir for the full course of treatment. Keep taking it even if you feel better in a few days.
  • If you are using Famvir to suppress genital herpes, continue to take Famvir even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of Famvir, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Famvir.

Important safety information:

  • Famvir may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Famvir with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it. If you experience any of these effects, do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks while taking Famvir.
  • Famvir is not a cure for cold sores or genital herpes.
  • Genital herpes patients - Famvir will not prevent the spread of the herpes virus to others. To decrease the chance of infecting your partner, do not have sexual intercourse when sores are present. It may also be possible to spread the virus even if you do not currently have signs or symptoms of herpes. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Famvir before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Use Famvir with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially delirium, disorientation, and confusion.
  • Famvir should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 18 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Famvir while you are pregnant. It is not known if Famvir is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Famvir, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Famvir:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; gas; headache; nausea; tiredness; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); change in the amount of urine produced; confusion; delirium; disorientation; hallucinations; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; unusual bruising or bleeding; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Famvir:

Store Famvir at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Famvir out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Famvir, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Famvir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Famvir or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Famvir. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Famvir. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Famvir.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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