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Famvir is an antiviral medication that is used for treating genital herpes, cold sores, and shingles. While the drug cannot cure any of these conditions, it can improve symptoms and help prevent outbreaks from returning. Famvir comes in tablet form and is available by prescription. Side effects of the medicine can include vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, and headaches.

What Is Famvir?

Famvir® (famciclovir) is a prescription antiviral medication used to treat the following conditions:
  • Shingles in people with normal immune systems
  • Recurring genital herpes in people with normal immune systems
  • Recurring cold sores in people with normal immune systems
  • Herpes simplex infections (including cold sores and genital herpes) in people with HIV or other conditions that weaken the immune system.
(Click Famvir Uses for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Famvir?

It is made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

How Does It Work?

Shingles, genital herpes, and cold sores are caused by viruses. Once a person has been infected with these viruses, the virus never goes away. It remains inactive in certain nerve cells of the body, waiting to become active again. Famvir is an antiviral medication that helps the body fight the infection. It does this by preventing the virus from multiplying.


Several studies have looked at how well Famvir treats shingles, genital herpes, and cold sores.
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