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Famciclovir structure.svg
Clinical data
Pronunciation /ˌfæmˈsklˌvɪər/[1]
Trade names Famvir
AHFS/Drugs.com Monograph
MedlinePlus a694038
  • AU: B1
  • US: B (No risk in non-human studies)
Routes of
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
  • AU: S3 (Pharmacist only)
  • UK: POM (Prescription only)
  • US: ℞-only
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 75–77%
Protein binding 20-25%
Metabolism Hepatic, circulation, intestinal wall (to penciclovir)
Elimination half-life 2–2.3 hours
Excretion Renal, faecal
CAS Number
PubChem CID
ECHA InfoCard 100.158.713 Edit this at Wikidata
Chemical and physical data
Formula C14H19N5O4
Molar mass 321.332 g/mol
3D model (JSmol)
Melting point 103 °C (217 °F)

Famciclovir is a guanosine analogue antiviral drug used for the treatment of various herpesvirus infections, most commonly for herpes zoster (shingles). It is a prodrug form of penciclovir with improved oral bioavailability. Famciclovir is marketed under the trade name Famvir (Novartis).

Famciclovir was approved for medical use in 1994.[2] On August 24, 2007, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first generic version of famciclovir. Generic tablets are manufactured by TEVA Pharmaceuticals and Mylan Pharmaceuticals.[3][4]

Medical uses[edit]

Famciclovir is indicated for the treatment of herpes zoster (shingles),[5] treatment of herpes simplex virus 2 (genital herpes),[6] herpes labialis (cold sores) in immunocompetent patients[7] and for the suppression of recurring episodes of herpes simplex virus 2. It is also indicated for treatment of recurrent episodes of herpes simplex in HIV patients.

Adverse effects[edit]

Side effects: mild to extreme stomach upset, headaches, mild fever.


Early treatment[edit]

Several studies in humans and mice provide evidence that early treatment with famciclovir soon after the first infection with herpes can significantly lower the chance of future outbreaks. Use of famciclovir in this manner has been shown to reduce the amount of latent virus in the neural ganglia compared to no treatment or treatment with valaciclovir.[8][9][10] A review of human subjects treated for five days with famciclovir 250 mg three times daily during their first herpes episode found that only 4.2 percent experienced a recurrence within six months after the first outbreak, a fivefold decrease compared to the 19 percent recurrence in acyclovir-treated patients.[11] Neither drug affected latency if treatment was delayed for several months.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Famciclovir". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  2. ^ Long, Sarah S.; Pickering, Larry K.; Prober, Charles G. (2012). Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Disease. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 1502. ISBN 1437727026.
  3. ^ "Recent Product Launches, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA". Retrieved 2008-02-21.[better source needed]
  4. ^ "Mylan Launches Generic Version of Famvir® Tablets" (Press release). Mylan. 20 April 2011. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  5. ^ Tyring SK, Barbarash RA (1995). "Famciclovir for the Treatment of Acute Herpes Zoster: Effects on Acute Disease and Postherpetic Neuralgia". Annals of Internal Medicine. 123 (2): 89–96. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-123-2-199507150-00002. PMID 7778840.
  6. ^ Luber AD, Flaherty JF (1996). "Famciclovir for Treatment of Herpesvirus Infections". Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 30 (9): 978–85. doi:10.1177/106002809603000913. PMID 8876860.
  7. ^ Spruance SL, Bodsworth N (2006). "Single-Dose, Patient-Initiated Famciclovir: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial for Episodic Treatment of Herpes Labialis". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 55 (1): 47–53. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2006.02.031. PMID 16781291.
  8. ^ The effects of antiviral therapy on the distribution of herpes simplex virus type 1 to ganglionic neurons and its consequences during, immediately following and several months after treatment"[1]"
  9. ^ Famciclovir and Valaciclovir Differ in the Prevention of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Latency in Mice: a Quantitative Study"[2]"
  10. ^ Persistence of Infectious Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 in the Nervous System in Mice after Antiviral Chemotherapy"[3]"
  11. ^ Observation May Indicate A Possible Clinical Effect On Latency"[4]"
  12. ^ Thackray AM, Field HJ. (1996). "Differential effects of famciclovir and valaciclovir on the pathogenesis of herpes simplex virus in a murine infection model including reactivation from latency". J. Infect. Dis. 173 (2): 291–299. doi:10.1093/infdis/173.2.291. PMID 8568288.

External links[edit]