Famciclovir is currently one of the most commonly given medications against herpes zoster. In jargon free terms, the herpes zoster infection is referred to as shingles. It represents a severe rash that spreads at a speedy rate. It mostly targets people who have suffered from chicken pox in the past. The same medication is also used in the treatment and prevention of herpes virus cold sores. Fever blisters may also occur, regardless of how healthy the immune system is. Genital herpes is not to be overlooked either. If left untreated, it causes sores around the rectum and genitals. They come and go regularly. The recurring infections are normal too. It is worth noting that they are very popular in HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) patients.
On a medical note, Famciclovir belongs to the antiviral category of medications. Its main goal is to prevent the virus from spreading within the body. Despite its powerful effects inside the body, this herpes medication is unable to prevent the virus from spreading to people around the patient. However, it can relieve the signs of tingling, burning, painful sensations and itching. It will also rush the healing process of sores, not to mention preventing new sores from forming. Patients should know that the herpes can’t be cured yet. There is no such thing as a general cure for it. Luckily, its symptoms can be kept under control, while the spread is immediately annihilated whenever recurring episodes occur.
Apart from all these uses, Famciclovir can be used for other purposes as well, yet the treatment should not be started, adjusted or continued by ear. Instead, patients must discuss with a specialist doctor or a pharmacist before making any choices on their own.
- Usage and Recommended Dosage
- Safety Standards and Contraindications
- Potential Allergies
- Treatment Duration
- Elder and Pregnancy Considerations
- Potential Side Effects
Usage and Recommended Dosage
Famciclovir is available in tablets. They are taken orally. They do not depend on any meals, so you can take them with or without food. It is highly recommended to take the tablets whole. Do not chew or crush them or you risk triggering some of their mild side effects. When taken whole, the tablet dissolves slowly inside the body and releases the active substance. When crushed, the body has to face a higher dose over a short period of time, hence the discomfort. Take the dose with a glass of water if you experience problems while swallowing it.
The treatment may vary widely, depending on several factors. The actual infection is one of them. When used in the treatment of shingles, most doctors recommend taking the dose three times a day, at every 8 hours. The treatment must be continuous for 7 days. It is the patient’s responsibility to observe the infection fast and react right away. This basic treatment should be started within the first 72 hours after the rash shows up.
The treatment is slightly different for fever blisters and cold sores. It is milder and mostly used with prevention purposes. At this point, the patient must take one dose as soon as the first signs or symptoms occur. It makes no difference if signs include itching, tingling or burning sensations.
Specialist doctors recommend two tablets a day – one at every 12 hours – in the treatment and repetitive outbreaks of genital herpes. The treatment should not last for more than 24 or 48 hours – maximum four times. However, it is imperative to take the first dose within the first 6 hours of the first symptoms. It is worth noting that herpes can never be cured. It may come back when least expected, yet it is easy to keep under control. From this point of view, Famciclovir is available with prevention purposes too. The treatment is maintained for up to a year.
The treatment must be more intense in HIV patients with genital herpes. It must be continued for a whole week – taken two times a day. Follow the doctor’s recommendations. If there is something you are not sure of, ask them for instructions. Take the medication just like directed. Taking more of it will not heal the infection faster. Instead, patients risk getting an overdose. In this case, they must reach to a doctor as soon as possible.
If you forget to take a dose, do not double up the next one to compensate for your mistake, but talk to the doctor or just go on with the regular schedule – unless you actually miss it by a couple of hours.
The Famciclovir tablets must be kept below 30 degrees Celsius, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Keep them away from children or pets.
Safety Standards and Contraindications
Famciclovir is contraindicated in people who are allergic to famciclovir or penciclovir. The active ingredients can cause allergies in those with hypersensitivity. It is mandatory to tell your specialist doctor if you suffer from any diseases, such as a weak immune system, kidney or liver affections, severe lactase deficiency, galactose intolerance and other similar issues.
Famciclovir is less likely to cause any allergies, unless the patient is actually sensitive to one of its substances. If you are not sure, yet you experience any allergies, discuss with the doctor right away. Allergic symptoms include swelling of the face, tongue or throat. They might cause issues while breathing or swallowing, hence the necessity to seek medical help right away.
The treatment for Famciclovir varies from one case to another. It depends on the patient, as well as the infection and its symptoms. Normally, the treatment frequency and duration do not change too much. However, patients with specific problems might need to take smaller doses.
Generally speaking, the treatment varies between a day and a year. Famciclovir is taken for a day with prevention purposes or mild infections. However, there are particular requirements, such as starting the treatment within the first hours. When used for prevention and maintenance, it may take between 6 months and a year.
Elder and Pregnancy Considerations
There are no special contraindications and recommendations regarding elders. However, elders are often exposed to more problems, such as liver or kidney issues. At this point, the dose might require readjustments. A low immune system demands special attention as well. As for the treatment duration, it is rarely affected.
When it comes to pregnant women, it is not known whether Famciclovir can affect the fetus. Also, it is not known whether it can transfer to the baby through the breast milk while nursing. No negative reports have been reported so far. Pregnant women with genital herpes are likely to face a serious discomfort while giving birth though. Discuss about the necessity of Famciclovir with your specialist doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Potential Side Effects
Seek emergency help if you face allergy signs – like swelling. Some of the mild and slightly uncomfortable side effects include diarrhea, headaches, sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, stomach pain and gas. They usually go on by themselves within a few days. They only persist until the body gets used to the medication. Serious side effects are extremely uncommon. If you face less urination, weakness, appetite loss, chest fluttering or weight gain, stop using this medication and talk to your specialist doctor as soon as possible.