What is Famciclovir for?
Famciclovir is an antiviral medication that is used for the treatment of symptoms of the herpes viruses including herpes simplex 1 and 2 as well as the varicella zoster virus. Herpes virus is responsible for cold sores and genital herpes while the varicella zoster virus is for chicken pox and shingles. Famciclovir acts by preventing the replication of viral DNA which is very important in the reproduction of more herpes virus. Famciclovir is a generic name, and the most popular brand name is Famvir.
Famciclovir is converted into penciclovir in the body which is an active antiviral effective against the herpes virus. Compared to other antiviral medications for the treatment of herpes symptoms, famciclovir has a longer duration and can help reduce the symptoms of the illness effectively throughout the day. It can control pain, burning, itching and tingling which are common in herpes. This drug may also be used in the treatment of infections and other viral illnesses since it is very effective and has a longer duration compared to other antiviral agents.
How do you use Famciclovir?
Before taking famciclovir, you need to inform your doctor of any allergic reaction against famciclovir or famciclovir ingredients as well as allergies to other antiviral medications. You also need to inform any food allergies and other illnesses that may reduce the action of famciclovir. Any prescription and non-prescription medication could also lessen the strength of famciclovir. Inform your doctor of any maintenance medications that you are taking for other illness like heart ailments, diabetes, hypertension, depression, etc. that can affect taking famciclovir. Medications and drugs like multivitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal treatments may also interfere with the action of famciclovir.
Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan on getting pregnant while you are taking famciclovir. You must also inform your doctor when you are breastfeeding or you plan on breastfeeding while taking this medication.
- It is recommended to take famciclovir with food to reduce gastrointestinal upset. However, you can take this medication with or without food. You must increase your water intake while taking famciclovir and to take extra precautions to reduce dehydration while on treatment.
- Do not miss a dose; if you miss one dose, do not take double doses. Take it as soon as you remember and then evenly space the remaining doses for the day. Take extra effort to remember your dosage and the time you need to take famciclovir.
- Always follow recommended period for taking famciclovir. Do not take this beyond the prescribed dosage and time period.
- You need to take note of your well-being, improvement of your symptoms and side effects while taking famciclovir. Any side effects must be reported immediately.
- As you take famciclovir for genital herpes, take special precaution to practice safety and cleanliness to prevent the spread of infection. Practice safe sex, avoid touching infected areas and wash your hands as often as you can will reduce the possibility of infecting others with the herpes virus. Prevention will ultimately reduce the spread of the virus.
Storage condition for Famciclovir:
Famciclovir must be stored between 59 to 86 degrees F. Store away from direct heat, moisture and light. Always keep this medication in its original container and keep the medication literature for future references.
Other important information:
Genital herpes is classified as a contagious condition and if you are diagnosed with this illness you must consult your doctor in the prevention of the spread of the virus. Considering that the most common mode of transfer of genital herpes is through sexual contact, your partner or spouse should also be screened and treated for this illness. Your partner will be prescribed with famciclovir or other antiviral medication; he must complete his treatment and practice hygiene and safe sexual contact while taking famciclovir.
Regular appointments with your doctor are very important while treating with famciclovir. He will evaluate your response to this drug and fill your prescription for you. He will also note any side effects that are associated with the use of famciclovir. Have your doctor’s emergency numbers ready for reporting any side effects and untoward effects of famciclovir.
What are the side effects of Famciclovir?
Famciclovir is very effective in the control of the symptoms of herpes but along with it are several side effects that you should be aware of:
- Gastrointestinal side effects include gas formation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and other GI symptoms. You must consult your doctor however for worsening side effects.
- Weakness, tiredness and confusion may be common symptoms but must be monitored for worsening symptoms.
Consult your doctor for severe side effects such as:
- Allergic reactions like hoarseness of voice, swelling of the face, lips, eyes, hands and feet.
- The occurrence of hives, rashes not associated with shingles or chicken pox.
- The feeling of tightness in the chest, difficulty in breathing and difficulty in swallowing must be consulted right away.
- Hallucinations, confusion, delirium and disorientation must be consulted as soon as possible.
- Reduction of urine output or blood in urine as well as blood in stools call for immediate medical attention.
In case of over dosage:
Call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or call for emergency medical services by dialling 911. Keep this medication out of reach of children.
What is the usual dose of Famciclovir?
Famciclovir for genital herpes – required dose is 1,000mg every 12 hours for one day. Your doctor may advice you to take famciclovir for a period of 7 to 10 days.
Famciclovir for recurrent cold sores – 1,500mg single dose for 7 to 10 days.
Famciclovir for suppression of recurrent genital herpes – 260mg twice a day
Famciclovir for shingles – 500mg every 8 hours for 7 to 10 days
Famciclovir for HIV- infected patients with cold sores and genital herpes -500mg dose two times per day for 7 to 10 days.
It’s important not to discontinue your dose when you feel better or when the sores and blisters disappear. Only your doctor will tell you when to discontinue your prescription. Regular check-ups are needed to be able to evaluate your response to famciclovir.