FamciclovirOther Names: Famvir Drug Class: Opportunistic Infections and Coinfections
What is famciclovir?
Famciclovir is anprescription medicine approved by the U.S. (FDA) for the treatment of 2 types of herpes simplex virus (HSV) Infection in healthy adults: cold sores (also known as herpes labialis or orolabial herpes) and genital herpes. Famciclovir is also approved to treat —a (VZV) infection—and to prevent the recurrence of genital herpes in healthy adults. In HIV-infected people, famciclovir is approved to treat herpes lesions in or around the mouth, genitals, and anal area.
VZV and HSV infections are opportunistic infections of HIV. An What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about opportunistic infections, read the AIDSinfo
Famciclovir can also be used off-label to prevent and treat other opportunistic infections of HIV infection.refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used off-label.
What HIV-related opportunistic infections is famciclovir used for?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the(NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of famciclovir to:
- Orolabial lesions (cold sores) and genital lesions caused by HSV infection from recurring (called secondary or ). (This is an “off-label” use.)
- HSV infections, including orolabial lesions and genital lesions.
- VZV infections, including shingles (also known as herpes zoster) and chicken pox (also known as primary varicella infection). (This is an off-label use.)
What should I tell my health care provider before taking famciclovir?
Before taking famciclovir, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to famciclovir or any other medicines.
- About any medical conditions you have or have had, for example, or problems.
- If you have a rare genetic problem with galactose intolerance (cannot metabolize the sugar galactose properly), have a severe lactase deficiency (lactase is an that breaks down the sugar lactose), or do not absorb the sugars and galactose.
- About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take pills.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether famciclovir can harm an unborn baby is unknown. Talk to your health care provider about possible risks with taking famciclovir when pregnant.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Famciclovir may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how famciclovir works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between famciclovir and the other medicines you take.
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from famciclovir. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
How should I take famciclovir?
Take famciclovir according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much famciclovir to take and when to take it. Before you start famciclovir and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How should famciclovir be stored?
- Store famciclovir at room temperature, 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
- Do not use famciclovir if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
- Throw away famciclovir that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
- Keep famciclovir and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about famciclovir?
More information about famciclovir is available:
- Recommendations on the HIV-related uses of famciclovir, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by CDC, NIH, and IDSA-HIVMA
- Famciclovir-related research studies, from the AIDSinfo database of study summaries
The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet (film coated).
Last Reviewed: April 6, 2017