What is a Generic Drug?

A generic drug is a copy of the brand-name drug with the same dosage, safety, strength, quality, consumption method, performance, and intended use. Before generics become available on the market, the generic company must prove it has the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug and works in the same way and in the same amount of time in the body.

The only differences between generics and their brand-name counterparts is that generics are less expensive and may look slightly different (eg. different shape or color), as trademarks laws prevent a generic from looking exactly like the brand-name drug.

Generics are less expensive because generic manufacturers don't have to invest large sums of money to develop a drug. When the brand-name patent expires, generic companies can manufacture a copy of the brand-name and sell it at a substantial discount.

Famvir (Famciclovir)


Famvir (Famciclovir)

Prescription Required


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Generic Equivalent - Famvir (Famciclovir)

Prescription Required


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  • Product Details


    Famcyclovir is a prescription drug used to treat viral infection, also called an antiviral. It is typically given for the treatment of: 

    • Prevention of herpes simplex infection
    • Treatment of herpes simplex infection
    • Treatment of herpes zoster (shingles)
    • Treatment of varicella infection in patients with HIV

    Once in the body, Famvir is converted to the active molecule penciclovir. Penciclovir incorporates itself into the viral protein responsible for helping the virus to replicate. This action prevents the formation of more viral particles and slows or stops the infection.

    Fact Table




    US FDA



    Legal status


    Chemical Name


    Elimination half-life

    2–2.3 hours

    Dosage (Strength)

    125mg, 250mg, 500mg


    Consult Doctor



    Protein binding


    PubChem CID






    ATC code






    Routes of administration



    The dosage varies based on the type of virus and the location of the infection. Take Famvir exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Take Famvir with a full glass of water for each dose.


    The active ingredient is famciclovir.


    Common drug-drug interactions with this medication may include:

    • Cladribine
    • Talimogene Laherparepvec
    • Varicella Virus Vaccine
    • Zoster Vaccine

    If you have taken any of the above, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting Famvir.


    Tell your doctor if you have a history of kidney problems before starting this drug. The dose may need to be reduced in people with impaired kidney function.

    Famvir tablets contain lactose. Use caution if you have lactose intolerance.

    Side Effects

    There are many potential side effects, including:

    • Abnormal hepatic function tests
    • Anaphylactic shock
    • Anaphylaxis
    • Anemia
    • Angioedema 
    • Cholestatic jaundice
    • Confusion
    • Delirium
    • Diarrhea
    • Disorientation
    • Dizziness
    • Drowsiness
    • Dysmenorrhea
    • Erythema multiforme
    • Eyelid edema
    • Facial edema
    • Fatigue
    • Flatulence
    • Hallucination
    • Headache
    • Hypersensitivity angiitis
    • Increased serum ALT
    • Increased serum AST
    • Increased serum bilirubin
    • Leukopenia
    • Migraine
    • Nausea
    • Neutropenia
    • Palpitations
    • Paresthesia
    • Periorbital edema
    • Pharyngeal edema
    • Pruritus
    • Seizure
    • Skin Rash
    • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
    • Thrombocytopenia
    • Toxic epidermal necrolysis
    • Urticaria
    • Vomiting

    Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any of the above while taking Famvir.


    Famvir [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.; 2006.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Famvir (Famciclovir)

    What is Famvir used for?

    Famvir is used to treat infections caused by herpes viruses, including genital herpes, cold sores, and shingles.

    How should I take Famvir?

    Take Famvir as directed by your doctor, usually with or without food. The usual dosage is 500mg 2-3 times a day for a week.

    Can Famvir cure herpes?

    No, Famvir can help to control herpes symptoms, but it does not cure the virus.

    What are the possible side effects of Famvir?

    Common side effects include headache, nausea, and diarrhea. Serious side effects are rare but may include kidney problems.

    Can I drink alcohol while taking Famvir?

    It's best to avoid alcohol as it can increase the risk of Famvir's side effects.

    How long does it take for Famvir to work?

    It may take up to 2 days for Famvir to start reducing symptoms of herpes infections.

    Can I take Famvir during pregnancy?

    Talk to your doctor to determine if Famvir is safe for you during pregnancy, as there is no sure consensus on its safety

    Can Famvir prevent the spread of herpes?

    Famvir can help to reduce the spread of herpes when taken as directed.

    What should I do if I miss a dose of Famvir?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, but skip it if it's almost time for your next dose.

    Can I crush or split Famvir tablets?

    It's best to take Famvir tablets whole, but consult with your pharmacist if you have difficulty swallowing them.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.

    Product Code : 1519

  • Product Reviews


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