Antiviral Drugs for Shingles Treatment: Famciclovir (Famvir)

Famciclovir is among the principal antiviral drugs prescribed as a part of shingles treatment. Shingles is a painful condition of the skin in which lesions and a widespread rash are the main symptoms. Shingles is a viral infection caused by the herpes zoster virus. It is generally found among people who have had chickenpox in the past. This is because the herpes virus doesn’t exit the human body, even when chickenpox seems to have been cured. It lies dormant within the body, and surfaces in the form of shingles when the body’s immunity is compromised due to some other reason like a long-term illness.

Famciclovir Basics

Famciclovir was approved for the treatment of shingles by the FDA in 1994. Famciclovir is commonly available under the brand name of Famvir that is manufactured by Novartis. This prescription medication contains some active ingredients that make it suitable for shingles treatment. This includes penciclovir and valacyclovir. Famciclovir is used for treating various kinds of herpes infections. This includes herpes causing cold sores, genital herpes and shingles.

Role of Famciclovir in Shingles Treatment

Like most medications prescribed for shingles treatment, Famciclovir cannot eradicate the herpes zoster virus; it is essentially a symptomatic aid that alleviates the symptoms. Famciclovir is known for its ability to fasten the healing of sores and blisters associated with shingles. Painful lesions and an irritating rash caused by shingles are appreciably reduced with a Famciclovir regimen. Famciclovir’s most appreciated aspect is its ability to dampen the debilitating nerve pain caused by herpes zoster.

Famciclovir Usage

Famciclovir is among the most commonly recommended of medications when initial symptoms of shingles surface. It is commonly believed that Famciclovir is most effective if it is taken within the first 48 hours from the first appearance of symptoms. At this stage, Famciclovir can arrest the spread of the virus and fasten the recovery process without inducing any significant side-effects. Famciclovir is easily absorbed by the body which explains its therapeutic properties.

Famciclovir Dosage

Famciclovir is commonly available in the tablet form. A starting dosage of Famciclovir usually comprises of high-strength Famciclovir tablets, taken about 2-to-3 times a day. The potency and frequency of dosage is reduced gradually, i.e. as the symptoms begin to subside.

Taking Precautions

Famciclovir can induce some unwanted reactions with other medications like Digoxin. Famciclovir can prove contradictory for some patients with other medical conditions. This includes people with:

  • Kidney disease
  • Food allergies
  • Lactose or galactose intolerance
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding women

Further, people using multivitamins or other forms of herbal supplements should inform their healthcare provider about the same. Famciclovir can induce some side-effects when administered along with such non-prescriptions health aids. The Famciclovir dosage should not be exceeded, even when a timely dose is missed. This is because Famciclovir is known to induce gastrointestinal discomfort. This problem is more pronounced among the elderly.

Typical symptoms of Famciclovir overdosing include headache and fatigue accompanied by nausea/vomiting and flatulence. The use of Famciclovir is contradicted in individuals who are suffering from a severe, chronic ailment that has reduced their white blood count (WBC) considerably. This is because Famciclovir can further lower the WBC count.

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