Famvir is an antiviral film-coated tablet used to treat a number of infections caused by the herpes virus. It stops the infecting virus from reproducing. Since the virus reproduces very early in the infection, you will benefit most from treatment if you take Famvir as soon as the first symptoms appear.

Famvir does not cure the infections, but it does stop the spread of the herpes virus in the body. Famvir does not prevent you from spreading of herpes virus to other people.

While taking Famvir you should get relief from the painful tenderness, tingling, itching and burning. Famvir also helps the sores to heal and usually prevents new sores from forming.

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  • shingles (herpes zoster), which is a viral infection caused by a virus called varicella zoster (the same virus that causes chickenpox). Famvir stops the virus from spreading in the body so that healing can occur faster.
  • ophthalmic zoster, shingles in the area around the eye or of the eye itself
  • genital herpes (herpes simplex), a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or 2. It is normally spread by sexual contact. It causes blisters and burning or itching around the genitals, which may be painful.
  • cold sores caused by herpes simplex

Famvir is also used to treat recurring herpes skin infections in patients who also have HIV infection. Famvir is used in patients who have a weakened immune system 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.

Like any other prescription medication you must consult a doctor before using it.

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How does Famvir work?

Famvir helps the body fight the herpes infection by preventing the virus from multiplying. The active substance in Famvir is famciclovir. One film-coated tablet contains 125 mg, 250 mg or 500 mg famciclovir.

The other ingredients are hydroxypropylcellulose, lactose (125 mg and 250 mg tablets only), sodium starch glycollate and magnesium stearate. The tablet coating contains hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, titanium dioxide (E171) and polyethylene glycol.

Read the Patient Information Leaflet

Possible side effects of Famvir

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor side effects. Check with a doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome: Diarrhea; gas; headache; tiredness; vomiting.

Very common side effects

  • Headache

Common side effects

  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Liver function test giving abnormal results

Uncommon side effects

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness (usually in older people)
  • Itchy rash (urticaria)

Rare side effects

  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there)

Genital herpes patients - Famvir is not a cure for genital herpes. It will not prevent the infection from spreading the 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.

Use Famvir with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially delirium, disorientation, and confusion.

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.

Read the Patient Information Leaflet

How to take Famvir

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 as directed by the 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.

Read the Patient Information Leaflet