Famciclovir is a drug used in the treatment of infections caused by the herpes family of viruses. As an antiviral drug, famciclovir works by disrupting viral DNA synthesis. This does not mean, however, that famciclovir cures the viral infection, but what it does do is reduce the viral load present in the body. Common side effects include stomach upset and headache.
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Famciclovir is an antiviral drug used in the treatment of infections caused by the herpes family of viruses. This family is quite extensive and includes treatment of infections as varied as shingles, genital herpes and cold sores. Famciclovir should be used when the infection is oncoming, rather than being used later on. This maximises the effect of famciclovir at reducing viral load over the course of the infection. Famciclovir is also indicated for use in HIV patients who become infected with the herpes simplex virus. Famciclovir may also be used for purposes not mentioned in this guide, at the discretion of the prescriber.
- Genital Herpes
- Cold Sores
- Herpes Simplex in HIV Patients
The following doses with respect to famciclovir are not fixed. Each dose is dependent upon a number of factors, not least whether the patient has any additional complicating factors such as age, co-administration of interacting drugs, or the presence of additional disease. With this in mind, the following doses should be considered typical all else being equal.
Herpex Simplex (Immunocompetent Host)
- Adult Dose: 250 mg to be taken orally three times daily for 7-10 days.
Herpex Simplex (Immunocompromised Host)
- Adult Dose: 500 mg to be taken twice daily for one week.
Herpes Zoster Infection
- Adult Dose: 500 mg to be taken orally every eight hours for one week.
Herpes Simplex Labialis
- Adult Dose: 1500 mg orally to be taken as a single dose.
Famciclovir Side Effects
Most patients report no significant side-effects with famciclovir, though there are always exceptions. Some of these common side-effects are listed below, though this is by no means a limited list. If you experience any severe side-effects while taking famciclovir, you are advised to discontinue the medicine and seek further professional advice. Common side-effects include:
- Stomach Pain
Consult your healthcare provider should you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pins and Needles
- Mental Changes
Famciclovir should be used with caution in those with existing renal dysfunction, as the drug is primarily eliminated from the body through the kidneys. Toxic levels may arise if famciclovir is prescribed. Caution should also be considered in those with liver disease. There are no major drug interactions with famciclovir, though there are some moderate interactions, some of which are listed below. Note that the below list of drug interactions is not intended to be exhaustive. Drugs that interact with famciclovir include: