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famciclovir

Pronunciation

Generic Name: famciclovir (fam SYE klo veer)
Brand Name: Famvir

What is famciclovir?

Famciclovir is an antiviral drug. It slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus so that the body can fight off the infection. Famciclovir will not cure herpes, but it can lessen the symptoms of the infections.

Famciclovir is used to treat infections caused by herpes viruses, including genital herpes, cold sores, and shingles.

There is no cure for herpes and famciclovir will not prevent you from developing symptoms in the future.

Famciclovir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about famciclovir?

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to famciclovir or penciclovir cream (Denavir).

Take this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.

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Treatment with famciclovir should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters).

Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people, even while you are being treated with famciclovir. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent passing the infection to others.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking famciclovir?

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to famciclovir or penciclovir cream (Denavir).

To make sure you can safely take famciclovir, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • a weak immune system;

  • galactose intolerance;

  • severe lactase deficiency; or

  • glucose-galactose malabsorption.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Herpes virus can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. If you have genital herpes, it is very important to prevent herpes lesions during your pregnancy so that you do not have a genital lesion when your baby is born.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of famciclovir on the baby.

It is not known whether famciclovir passes into breast milk, or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not take famciclovir without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old without medical advice.

How should I take famciclovir?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Taking more of this medication will not make it more effective

Treatment with famciclovir should be started as soon as possible after the first appearance of symptoms (such as tingling, burning, blisters).

You may take famciclovir with or without food.

Take this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. To prevent recurrent genital herpes, you may need to take famciclovir twice daily for up to 1 year. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Lesions caused by herpes viruses should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Wearing loose clothing may help to prevent irritation of the lesions.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking famciclovir?

Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people, even while you are being treated with famciclovir. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent passing the infection to others.

Famciclovir will not prevent the spread of genital herpes. Avoid sexual intercourse or use a latex condom to prevent spreading the virus to others.

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Famciclovir side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using famciclovir and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • urinating less than usual or not at all;

  • weakness, confusion, increased thirst, loss of appetite, vomiting, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest; or

  • swelling, weight gain, feeling short of breath.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, gas, stomach pain;

  • diarrhea,

  • headache, tired feeling;

  • dizziness, sleepiness;

  • mild itching or skin rash; or

  • numbness or tingly feeling.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Famciclovir dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Simplex -- Mucocutaneous/Immunocompetent Host:

Genital herpes:
Initial episode: 250 mg orally 3 times a day for 7 to 10 days has been recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Recurrent episodes: 1000 mg orally twice a day for 1 day; alternatively, 125 mg orally twice a day for 5 days has been recommended by the CDC

Famciclovir should be started at the first sign or symptom of a recurrent episode (such as tingling, burning, itching, pain, or lesion). The efficacy has not been established if started more than 6 hours after onset of symptoms or lesions.

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Simplex -- Mucocutaneous/Immunocompromised Host:

Recurrent episodes of orolabial or genital herpes in HIV-infected patients: 500 mg orally twice a day for 7 days (5 to 10 days recommended by the CDC)

Famciclovir should be started at the first sign or symptom of a recurrent episode (such as tingling, burning, itching, pain, or lesion). The efficacy has not been established if started more than 48 hours after onset of symptoms or lesions.

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Simplex -- Suppression:

Chronic suppression of recurrent genital herpes:
Immunocompetent patients: 250 mg orally twice a day
HIV-infected patients: 500 mg orally twice a day has been recommended by the CDC

Therapy should be continued as clinically appropriate, although the safety and efficacy of famciclovir therapy beyond 1 year have not been established.

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Zoster:

500 mg orally every 8 hours for 7 days

Famciclovir is most effective if started within 48 hours of onset of rash. The efficacy has not been established if started more than 72 hours after onset of rash.

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Simplex Labialis:

Recurrent herpes labialis: 1500 mg orally as a single dose

Famciclovir is most effective if started at the earliest sign or symptom of a cold sore (such as tingling, burning, itching, pain, or lesion).

What other drugs will affect famciclovir?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • probenecid (Benemid); or

  • other medications you use to treat herpes outbreaks, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and others.

There may be other drugs that can interact with famciclovir. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about famciclovir.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.03. Revision Date: 2012-05-04, 4:59:18 PM.

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