Famvir targets the DNA of genital herpes to interrupt its life cycle, so outbreaks are shorter, helping you manage them easier. It is an oral antiviral medication that is used for:
- Treatment of recurrent genital herpes
- Suppression of recurrent genital herpes
- Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex virus infections (genital herpes and cold sores) in HIV-infected patients
What is genital herpes?
The biggest misconception is that genital herpes is a disease associated with promiscuous behavior. Symptoms of genital herpes can first appear a long time after the person has contracted the disease – you may have contracted it from a sexual partner long ago. Your partner may have genital herpes without knowing it – he or she may have passed it on to you without showing signs of the disease.
Genital herpes is most often spread from person to person through sexual contact. It is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus one of the same family of viruses that causes chickenpox, cold sores, and mononucleosis. Two different types of herpes simplex viruses can cause herpes.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) usually causes oral herpes (cold sores or fever blisters) on the face and mouth. Most type 1 genital herpes is caused by unprotected oral sex.
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) usually causes genital herpes. The symptoms of genital herpes may include:
- A rash, bumps, blisters, cuts, or sores in or around the genital area
- Itching, burning, tingling, or swelling in or around the genital area
- Aches or pains in or around the genital area
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- Burning and/or pain when urinating
- Flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, and swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the groin
It is important to know that physical symptoms do not have to be present to spread genital herpes to another person. Some people are unaware that they have genital herpes because their symptoms are so mild (eg, bump or rash), and they unknowingly spread the virus to others. You can have no signs or symptoms at all but be contagious and spread the herpes virus. This is called asymptomatic viral shedding. It’s also important to know that transmission of the herpes virus can occur in heterosexual and homosexual relationships (both men and women).
How is Famvir prescribed?
It is usually prescribed after the initial outbreak of genital herpes, in one of three ways:
- Episodic treatment – your doctor treats an outbreak of genital herpes as it occurs. You take one 125-mg pill, twice a day, for 5 days.
- Suppressive treatment – if you have frequent or severe outbreaks, you take one 250-mg pill, twice a day, for up to 1 year to suppress the genital herpes virus and help to prevent outbreaks.
- Patients with HIV – Famvir is the only prescription oral antiviral therapy indicated for treating genital or orolabial herpes in people infected with HIV. In patients with herpes simplex and HIV, the dose is 500 mg, twice a day, for 7 days.
What are the most common side effects?
In clinical studies, Famvir side effects were reported to be headache, nausea, and diarrhea.
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