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What Is Famciclovir Used For?

Famciclovir can be used to treat recurring cold sores, shingles, and recurring genital herpes. The medicine is also used for treating herpes simplex infections in people with weak immune systems. "Off-label" famciclovir uses may include the treatment of other viral infections, such as chickenpox. The medication has not been approved for use in children.

What Is Famciclovir Used For?

Famciclovir (Famvir®) is a prescription medication used for treating the following conditions:
 
  • Shingles
     
  • Recurring genital herpes
     
  • Recurring cold sores
     
  • Herpes simplex infections (including cold sores and genital herpes) in people with HIV or other conditions that weaken the immune system.
     
Famciclovir for Shingles
Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is caused by a virus (the varicella-zoster virus). It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Most people were infected with this virus (as chickenpox) when they were children. The body never completely gets rid of the virus, and the virus remains inactive in certain nerve cells in the body. Later in life, often triggered by stress or illness, the virus can become active again, causing shingles.
 
Symptoms of shingles may include a rash (usually on only one side of the body) and burning or tingling pain. Usually, the rash forms blisters that may break and ooze. If this happens, you may be able to spread the "shingles virus" to people who have never had chickenpox. Shingles pain can be very severe. It can continue long after the rash is gone (known medically as postherpetic neuralgia).
 
(Click Shingles Symptoms for more information about signs and symptoms of shingles.)
 
When famciclovir is used for shingles treatment, it will help the shingles rash heal more quickly. Famciclovir is not a cure for shingles, as the virus will always remain in your body and may become active again.
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