Famvir is an antiviral medication used to treat herpes zoster (shingles) and recurrent herpes simplex infections in patients infected with HIV. It slows the growth and spread of herpes infections and makes your body fight off the infections. It prevents the virus from making DNA (genetic material) and copying itself, and so leads to lower levels of virus in the blood.

Before using Famvir, tell your doctor about any of the following: if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding; if you are taking any prescription medicine, nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement; if you have impaired kidney function; if you have any other medical conditions.

  • Famvir can not cure herpes, but it can lessen the symptoms of the infection
  • It may not prevent transmission of genital herpes to others, so you should avoid sexual intercourse whenever you have symptoms of the disease.
  • Famvir is most effective if started within the first 48 hours after shingles first appears; treatment should be started at the first sign or symptom of genital herpes.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have:

  • Cancer
  • HIV infection
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Kidney problems
  • Galactose intolerance
  • Severe lactase deficiency
  • Glucose-galactose malabsorption

Famvir Side Effects

Most severe: Hallucinations; confusion; severe allergic reaction (giant hives; rash; difficulty breathing; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue).

Most common: Headache; abnormal skin sensations; nausea; diarrhea; vomiting; tiredness; itching.

Other: Migraine; gas; stomach pain; rash; painful menstruation.

This information is advisory only. It does not contain all information about this medication. If you have any questions about Famvir, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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