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Famciclovir (Famvir)

Gain relief from herpes with Famciclovir

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Famciclovir is an antiviral medication used to treat viral infections such as genital herpes, cold sores and shingles.

Famciclovir helps to stop the spread of the virus and ease symptoms. Continue reading to understand how this medicine works, how to take it and its potential side effects.

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Famciclovir FAQs

What is Famciclovir?

Famciclovir is an antiviral medication used to treat infections caused by certain viruses. It treats infections caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and the varicella zoster virus (or ‘herpes zoster’).

Famciclovir is the active ingredient and generic name for the brand Famvir. The Famvir brand has been discontinued in the United States. However, the generic version of this product, Famciclovir, is still available. Generic drugs are equivalent to branded medicines however, they are usually more affordable.

What is Famciclovir used for?

Famciclovir is used to treat repeat outbreaks of cold sores or ‘fever blisters’ as well as to treat and prevent future outbreaks of genital herpes.

It is also used to treat herpes zoster infections such as shingles (a rash that can occur in people who have previously had chickenpox). It can also be used to treat recurrent episodes of oral or genital herpes in people with HIV.

How does Famciclovir work?

Famciclovir belongs to a class of medications called antivirals. It is a prodrug, which means that once it’s inside the body, it is converted into the active antiviral agent, Penciclovir. It works by preventing the virus from multiplying, which stops the spread of the herpes virus in the body.

While it does not cure herpes infections or stop the virus from spreading to other people, it can help treat an outbreak. It may decrease symptoms such as pain, burning, tingling, tenderness, and itching. It can also help the sores to heal, and prevent new sores from forming.

How long does Famciclovir take to work?

This medicine acts fast if you take it at the first signs of an outbreak.

Since the virus reproduces very early in the infection, you will get the most benefit from this treatment if you take it as soon as your symptoms appear. However, if your immune system is weak, it may take a little longer for your body to heal.

What Famciclovir dosage forms are available?

Famciclovir is available in 125mg, 250mg and 500mg tablets. It is taken in different ways to treat the following conditions:

Genital herpes (herpes genitalis):

  • Recurrent episodes of genital herpes: The recommended dosage is 1000mg twice daily for 1 day. The tablets should be taken at the first sign of genital herpes, preferably within 6 hours of symptoms or lesions.
  • To prevent genital herpes from occurring take 250mg twice daily, usually for up to 1 year.

Cold sores (herpes labialis):

  • Recurrent cold sores: The recommended dosage is 1500mg as a single dose. The tablets should be taken at the earliest sign or symptom of a cold sore (e.g. tingling, itching or burning).

Shingles (herpes zoster):

  • To treat shingles, take one 500mg tablet every 8 hours (3 times a day) for 7 days. It should be taken as soon as possible, preferably within 3 days of the rash appearing.

How should Famciclovir be taken?

Famciclovir comes in a tablet form which you take by mouth. It can be taken with or without food.

You should start taking Famciclovir as soon as possible after your symptoms appear and continue taking it, even if you feel well. Do not stop taking famciclovir without talking to your doctor.

It is important to follow the instructions from your doctor carefully and take this medicine exactly as directed. Your doctor may also adjust your dose if you have kidney or liver problems.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, you should take it as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at your usual time.

Do not take two doses within a time interval of less than 1 hour, in this case, skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.

Who can and cannot use Famciclovir?

Famciclovir is safe for most people to take. However, you should tell your doctor if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have kidney problems (or have had them before)
  • You have liver problems
  • You have problems with your body’s immune system

If this is the case, your doctor may decide to change your dose of Famciclovir.

Do not take this medicine if:

  • You are allergic to Famciclovir or to any of the other ingredients of this medicine
  • You are allergic to Penciclovir (the active metabolite of Famciclovir)

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor before starting this treatment. It is not known whether the active ingredient can pass into breast milk.

If you are taking Famciclovir to treat or suppress genital herpes, you should practise safe sex and use condoms to prevent passing on the infection to others. You should avoid sex if you have genital sores or blisters.

What drug interactions are there?

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies and natural supplements.

You must tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • Raloxifene
  • Probenecid
  • Other medicines that may affect your kidneys

What are Famciclovir's side effects?

Like all medicines, this medicine may cause side effects, although not everybody experiences them. Most side effects of Famciclovir are mild and go away in a few days.

Studies show that the common side effects of Famciclovir experienced by patients include:

  • Headache
  • Feeling sick
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Rash

For a full list of side effects, please refer to the patient information leaflet included with your order.

Can I buy Famciclovir online?

You can purchase Famciclovir tablets online here at SpeedyHealth. First, you must complete a quick, confidential medical questionnaire which is reviewed by one of our doctors.

Once they find you suitable for treatment, your medication will be sent directly to your chosen address.