Famciclovir

Famciclovir treats Herpes virus in adults. Be sure to finish all of your medicine as prescribed, even if you begin to feel better.

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Pharmacist Stephen Lozano, PharmD summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the antivirals class of medications
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Pharmacist Stephen Lozano, PharmD summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the antivirals class of medications
Antivirals
Antivirals
Pharmacist Steve Lozano, PharmD summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the Antivirals class of medications

Famciclovir Overview

Reviewed: September 7, 2012
Updated: 

Famciclovir is a prescription medication used to treat outbreaks of cold sores, genital herpes, and shingles (herpes zoster) in adults. It is also used to decrease the number of outbreaks of genital herpes and herpes simplex. 

Famciclovir belongs to a group of drugs called antivirals. It works by stopping the spread of the herpes virus in the body. 
 
This medication comes in tablet form and is taken up to 3 times a day, with our without food. 
 
Common side effects of famciclovir include headache and nausea. 

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  • Herpes Genitalis
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Famciclovir Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautions

Uses of Famciclovir

Famciclovir is a prescription medication used to treat outbreaks of cold sores, genital herpes, and shingles (herpes zoster) in adults. It is also used to decrease the number of outbreaks of genital herpes and herpes simplex. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 

Famciclovir Brand Names

Famciclovir may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Famciclovir Drug Class

Side Effects of Famciclovir

The most common side effects of famciclovir include:

  • headache
  • nausea

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. 

These are not all the possible side effects of famciclovir. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.

Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Famciclovir Interactions

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take:

  • any other medicines and products you use to treat herpes outbreaks
  • probenecid (Probalan)

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them with you to show to your healthcare provider and pharmacist every time you get a new medicine.

Famciclovir Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with famciclovir including the following:

  • Acute Renal Failure. Cases of acute renal failure have been reported in patients with underlying renal disease who have received inappropriately high doses of famciclovir. Tell your healthcare provider right away right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • swelling of face, ankles, hands, or feet
    • fatigue
    • paleness of skin
    • decreased urination
    • shortness of breath
    • change in blood pressures

Do not take famciclovir if you are allergic to any of its ingredients or to Denavir (penciclovir cream).

 

Famciclovir Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of famciclovir, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before you start taking famciclovir, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • have kidney or liver problems
  • have a rare genetic problem with galactose intolerance, a severe lactase deficiency or you do not absorb glucose-galactose (malabsorption) 
  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if famciclovir will harm your unborn baby
  • Pregnancy Exposure Reporting: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation collects pregnancy reports which are reported on a voluntary basis. In case of pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider about reporting your pregnancy. 
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Famciclovir and Pregnancy

Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if famciclovir will harm your unborn baby.

  • Pregnancy Exposure Reporting: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation collects pregnancy reports which are reported on a voluntary basis. In case of pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider about reporting your pregnancy. 

Famciclovir and Lactation

Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if famciclovir is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

Famciclovir Usage

  • Take famciclovir exactly as prescribed 
  • Your healthcare provider will tell you how many famciclovir to take and when to take them. Your dose of famciclovir and how often you take it may be different depending on your condition
  • Famciclovir can be taken with or without food 
  • It is important for you to finish all of the medicine as prescribed, even if you begin to feel better 
  • Your symptoms may continue even after you finish all of your famciclovir. This does not mean that you need more medicine, since you have already finished a full course of famciclovir and it will continue to work in your body. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your condition and your treatment.
  • Patients who experience dizziness, somnolence, confusion or other central nervous system disturbances while taking famciclovir tablets should refrain from driving or operating machinery.

Famciclovir Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • your kidney function

Herpes Labialis (Cold Sores):

The recommended dosage of famciclovir for the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis is 1500 mg as a single dose. Therapy should be initiated at the first sign or symptom of herpes labialis (e.g., tingling, itching, burning, pain, or lesion).

Genital Herpes:

  • Recurrent Episodes - The recommended dosage of famciclovir  is 1000 mg twice daily for 1 day. Therapy should be initiated at the first sign or symptom of a recurrent episode (e.g., tingling, itching, burning, pain, or lesion).
  • Suppressive Therapy - The recommended dosage of famciclovir is 250 mg twice daily.

HIV-Infected Adult Patients- Recurrent Orolabial or Genital Herpes:

The recommended dosage of famciclovir is 500 mg twice daily for 7 days. Therapy should be initiated at the first sign or symptom of a recurrent episode (e.g., tingling, itching, burning, pain, or lesion).

 

Famciclovir Overdose

If you take too much famciclovir, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

 

Other Requirements

  • Store famciclovir at room temperature between 59° and 86°F (15° to 30°C).
  • Keep famciclovir and all medicines out of reach from children.

Famciclovir is not a cure for herpes. It is not known if famciclovir tablets can stop the spread of herpes to others. If you are sexually active, you can pass herpes to your partner even if you are taking famciclovir tablets. Herpes can be transmitted even if you do not have active symptoms. You should continue to practice safer sex to lower the chances of spreading genital herpes to others. Do not have sexual contact with your partner during an outbreak of genital herpes or if you have any symptoms of genital herpes. Use a condom made of latex or polyurethane when you have a sexual contact. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about safer sex practices.