What is famciclovir?
Famciclovir is anprescription medicine approved by the U.S. (FDA) for the treatment of (HSV) and (VZV) infections.
In adults with normal, famciclovir is FDA-approved:
- To treat recurrent outbreaks of cold sores (also known as herpes labialis or orolabial herpes) caused by HSV
- To treat recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes caused by HSV and to prevent outbreaks from reoccurring
- To treat (also known as herpes zoster) caused by VZV
In adults with HIV, famciclovir is FDA-approved:
- To treat recurrent outbreaks of orolabial or genital herpes caused by HSV
HSV and VZV infections can be What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.(OIs) of HIV. An OI is an that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the HIVinfo
How is famciclovir used in people with HIV?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV include recommendations on the uses of famciclovir in people with HIV to:
- infections, including cold sores and genital lesions
- infections, including chicken pox ( ) and
- Genital lesions caused by HSV infection from recurring
The recommended uses may not always be consistent with FDA-approved uses of famciclovir. See the Adult and Pediatric Opportunistic Infection Guidelines for complete information on recommended uses of famciclovir in adults and adolescents with HIV. Famciclovir may have other recommended uses not listed above.
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.
- 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. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of using famciclovir during pregnancy. The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV may include other recommendations on the use of famciclovir during pregnancy. Please refer to these guidelines for additional information.
- If you are breast/chestfeeding or plan to breast/chestfeed. For people with HIV in the United States, the Guideline recommends speaking with your health care provider to discuss options for feeding your baby. People with suppressed viral load have a less than 1% chance of transmitting HIV to their baby via their own milk.
- 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, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°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?
- Recommendations on the HIV-related uses of famciclovir in people with HIV, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV.
- This Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet (film coated).
- The American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS) Patient Medication Information for famciclovir available from MedlinePlus.
- Famciclovir-related research studies, from ClinicalTrials.gov. (The ClinicalTrials.gov search can be modified so that you can get results that better match your interests. To learn more about the ClinicalTrials.gov search features, please see How to Search.)
Last Reviewed: April 17, 2023