Meds and you

27 September 2013

Famciclovir

Famciclovir is an antiviral drug. Antiviral drugs are used to prevent or cure a disease caused by a virus, by inhibiting viral growth.

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Famciclovir is the active ingredient of Famvir (Nappi Code: 826715-001 & 815853-009).

General information
Famciclovir is an antiviral drug. Antiviral drugs are used to prevent or cure a disease caused by a virus, by inhibiting viral growth or by interfering with the ability of the virus to multiply.

In South Africa famciclovir is registered for the treatment of infections caused by the herpes virus such as shingles, genital herpes, chickenpox and fever blisters.

Famciclovir is not a cure for viral infections, but simply slows the virus down while allowing your immune system time to catch up. Treatment with famciclovir should start as soon as symptoms appear and before the appearance of any lesions.

Treatment with Famciclovir should only be stopped once the prescribed course have been completed, or if your doctor instructs you to do so.

How does famciclovir work?
Famciclovir prevents the relevant virus form multiplying by inhibiting enzymes needed for viral DNA replication in cells.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: famciclovir is available as tablets
What does it do? famciclovir is an anti-viral drug
Overdose risk: low
Dependence risk: low
Is famciclovir available as a generic? no
Is famciclovir available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 24 hours
Duration of action: up to 12 hours
Dietary advice: famciclovir can be taken with or without food. It is advised to take each dose with at least 250 ml of water and to drink at least 2 litres of water per day while being treated with this medication.
Stopping this medicine: famciclovir should only be stopped once the prescribed course has been completed.
Prolonged use: famciclovir is rarely used for prolonged periods of time.

Special precautions Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: this medication is safe for use.
Infants and children: this drug is not intended for use in children.
The elderly: note that a dosage adjustment may be needed.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
headache
X

X

rash

X

X
abdominal pain

X
X

diarrhoea

X
X

drowsiness

X
X

confusion

X

X
hallucinations

X

X
nausea and vomiting

X
X

Interactions

probenecid increased risk of famciclovir toxicity

Disease interactions
Contact your doctor before taking famciclovir if you have kidney disease.

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Adults: 250-750mg daily in 2-3 divided doses depending on infection.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.
 

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