Famciclovir is used to treat infections caused by certain types of viruses. It treats shingles caused by herpes zoster. It also treats outbreaks of herpes simplex that cause cold sores around the mouth, sores around the anus, and genital herpes. In people with frequent outbreaks of genital herpes, famciclovir is used to help reduce the number of future episodes.
Famciclovir is an antiviral drug. However, it is not a cure for these infections. The viruses that cause these infections continue to live in the body even between outbreaks. Famciclovir decreases the severity and length of these outbreaks. It helps the sores heal faster, keeps new sores from forming, and decreases pain/itching. This medication may also help reduce how long pain remains after the sores heal. In addition, in people with a weakened immune system, famciclovir can decrease the risk of the virus spreading to other parts of the body and causing serious infections.
How to use Famciclovir
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking famciclovir and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually 2 to 3 times a day or as directed by your doctor.
This medication works best when started at the first sign of an outbreak, as directed by your doctor. It may not work as well if you delay treatment.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished. Do not change your dose, skip any doses, or stop this medication early without your doctor's approval.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Famciclovir Side Effects
Headache, nausea, and diarrhea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as agitation, slowed thinking, confusion, hallucinations), dizziness, drowsiness, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), yellowing eyes/skin, easy bruising/bleeding.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Before taking famciclovir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to penciclovir; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems.
This drug may rarely make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
This medication may contain lactose. If you have certain conditions such as galactose intolerance, severe lactase deficiency (not lactose or milk intolerance), or glucose-galactose malabsorption that require you to restrict your intake of lactose, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medication.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Do not have certain immunizations/vaccinations (such as vaccines against the varicella virus) without the consent of your doctor.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and change in the amount of urine (kidney problems).
Famciclovir does not protect against the spread of genital herpes. To lower the chance of giving herpes to your partner, do not have sexual contact during an outbreak or if you have symptoms. You can spread genital herpes even if you do not have symptoms. Therefore, always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. It may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.
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