Famciclovir Sandoz

WHAT FAMCICLOVIR SANDOZ IS USED FOR

This medicine contains the active ingredient famciclovir. Famciclovir Sandoz is an antiviral medicine.

Shingles

This medicine is used to treat shingles in adults and adolescents.

Shingles is a condition that is caused by a herpes virus called varicella zoster, the same virus that causes chicken pox. The virus can become active again in the body, even after many years, resulting in shingles. The main symptom is a rash that can cause pain, burning and blisters.

Although Famciclovir Sandoz does not cure the viral infection, it helps to relieve the symptoms and shorten their duration.

The best results are obtained if the medicine is started as soon as possible after the first symptoms begin to appear.

This medicine is not recommended for use in children under 12 years of age.

Genital Herpes

This medicine is used to treat outbreaks of genital herpes and also to suppress (prevent) recurrent outbreaks of the condition.

Genital herpes is a viral infection caused by herpes simplex 1 or herpes simplex 2. It is usually transmitted through sexual contact.

Symptoms include tingling, burning or itching of the genitals, followed by blisters that may be painful.

People who have frequent episodes of genital herpes can also take Famciclovir Sandoz to help prevent the attacks.

Although Famciclovir Sandoz does not cure the viral infection, it helps to relieve the symptoms and shorten their duration.

The best results are obtained if the medicine is started as soon as possible after the first symptoms begin to appear.

Taking Famciclovir Sandoz does not prevent you from spreading the herpes virus to another person.

This medicine is not recommended for use in children under 12 years of age.

Cold Sores

This medicine is used to treat recurrent outbreaks of cold sores in adults who have a normal immune system (the body system which fights against harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi).

Cold sores are an infection caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1). The infection is most commonly acquired as a baby or child from contact with parents or relatives, often from kissing.

Cold sores usually begin on or around the lips, mouth, and nose as small red bumps that turn into fluid-filled blisters. Cold sores can be tender and painful. Many people who get cold sores know when one is coming by a tingling, burning, itchy or painful sensation or redness in the area. This can happen very rapidly.

After redness and swelling develop, blisters form. The blisters may weep or burst and this can be painful. Then a shallow ulcer and yellow crust form as the cold sore dries. The crust eventually falls off, exposing new pink-coloured skin. Generally the sores heal without scarring. After the initial infection has healed, the virus becomes dormant in nerve cells.

Cold sores can be unpredictable. The virus can become active again in the body, even after many years, resulting in recurrent outbreaks.

Even after many years, some people may experience recurring cold sores due to viral reactivation.

Some common triggers to a cold sore may include:

  • sun exposure
  • stress
  • fatigue
  • menstrual periods
  • fever
  • illness
  • dry chapped lips
  • skin trauma
  • a cold.

Although Famciclovir Sandoz does not cure the viral infection, it helps to relieve the symptoms and shorten the duration of an outbreak.

The best results are obtained if the medicine is started as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms of a cold sore, such as tingling, itching or burning, or the appearance of the first signs, such as redness or swelling. This is when the virus is reproducing rapidly.

This medicine is not recommended for use in infants, children or adolescents under 18 years of age.

Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed for you.

Your doctor may have prescribed it for another reason.

This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription. This medicine is not addictive.

BEFORE YOU TAKE FAMCICLOVIR SANDOZ

When you must not take it

Do not take this medicine if you have an allergy to:

  • famciclovir, the active ingredient, or to any of the other ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet under Product Description.
  • Penciclovir, a related antiviral medicine.
  • any other similar medicines.

Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
  • rash, itching or hives on the skin.

Do not take this medicine after the expiry date printed on the pack or if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering.

If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.

If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.

Before you start to take it

Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives or dyes.

Your doctor will want to know if you are prone to allergies.

Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following conditions:

  • you have a problem with your body's immune system, which helps to fight off infections
  • you have a problem with your kidneys
  • you have a problem with your liver.

Your doctor may want to take extra precautions in that case.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or are breast-feeding.

It is not known whether taking this medicine during pregnancy could affect your baby or whether the active ingredient in Famciclovir Sandoz passes into the breast milk. Your doctor can discuss with you the benefits and risks involved.

Tell your doctor if you are lactose intolerant.

Famciclovir Sandoz 250 mg tablets contain lactose.

If you experience an allergic reaction, stop using the medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell him/her before you start taking Famciclovir Sandoz.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you get without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Some medicines and Famciclovir Sandoz may interfere with each other. These include:

  • probenecid, a prescription medicine used to treat gout (a disease with painful, swollen joints caused by uric acid crystals)
  • medicines that can affect your kidneys.

These medicines may be affected by Famciclovir Sandoz or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicines, or you may need to take different medicines.

Your doctor and pharmacist have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking this medicine.

HOW TO TAKE FAMCICLOVIR SANDOZ

Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully.

They may differ from the information contained in this leaflet.

If you do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.

How much to take

Genital Herpes

Refer to instructions under "When to use it"

Cold Sore

The usual dose is three 500 mg tablets taken together as a single dose.

Your doctor may have prescribed a different dose.

Shingles

The usual dose is one 250 mg tablet three times each day for seven days, beginning no later than 72 hours after the rash appears.

Your doctor may have prescribed a different dose.

For people whose immune system does not work as well as it should, the dose and duration of treatment may be increased.

For people who have reduced kidney function, the dose may be reduced.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure of the correct dose for you.

They will tell you exactly how much to take.

Follow the instructions they give you.

If you take the wrong dose, Famciclovir Sandoz may not work as well and your problem may not improve.

How to take it

Swallow the tablets whole with a full glass of water. They may be taken with or without food.

When to take Famciclovir Sandoz

Cold Sore

Take your medicine for cold sores as soon as possible after the first symptoms (e.g. tingling, itching or burning) or signs (e.g. redness or swelling) of a cold sore appear.

Do not take the tablets if a hard crust has already formed on the cold sore.

Keep the tablets for the next episode.

Shingles

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, take one tablet when you get up in the morning, one in the afternoon and one just before going to bed at night.

Take your medicine at about the same time each day.

Genital Herpes

There are different ways to take Famciclovir Sandoz depending on your condition.

1. To treat an outbreak of genital herpes

To treat an outbreak, take your medicine as soon as possible after the first symptoms of genital herpes appear.

The tablets are best taken within 6 hours of the first symptoms of genital herpes appearing.

Take two 250 mg Famciclovir Sandoz tablets to start with, followed by one 250 mg tablet every 12 hours for the next 3 doses.

Take the second and subsequent doses 12 hours after the first dose, or as close as possible to 12 hours during waking hours.

If you take the first dose in the late morning or early afternoon, you can take the next dose before going to bed, but do not take any doses less than 6 hours apart.

Your doctor may have prescribed a different dose.

2. To suppress (prevent) outbreaks of recurrent genital herpes

Start suppressive treatment to prevent outbreaks of recurrent genital herpes as soon as possible after you have your Famciclovir Sandoz prescription filled.

Take one 250 mg Famciclovir Sandoz tablet twice each day.

Continue to take one 250 mg Famciclovir Sandoz tablet twice each day for as long as your doctor tells you to. Do this even if you do not have an outbreak.

This medicine helps to control your condition but does not cure it. Your doctor will tell you when you can stop.

Fill your next repeat prescription before using all of the tablets in your current carton.

This will ensure that your treatment can be continued and give you the best results.

Try to take your medicine at about the same times each day, as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.

Taking your tablet at the same times each day will have the best effect. It will also help you remember when to take the tablets.

How long to take Famciclovir

Cold Sore

A single dose of Famciclovir Sandoz for cold sores is all that is necessary for treating each episode of cold sores. The dose may be repeated if cold sores recur. Each pack of Famciclovir Sandoz for cold sores contains enough medicine for one dose.

Shingles

Continue taking Famciclovir Sandoz every day for the full course of treatment.

To help clear up your infection, you must take the full course of treatment, even if your symptoms begin to clear up after a few days.

Genital Herpes

Continue taking Famciclovir Sandoz every day for as long as your doctor tells you.

To help clear up your infection, you must keep taking this medicine, even if your symptoms begin to clear up after a few days.

To prevent recurrent episodes of genital herpes, you must take the tablets each day, even if you have no symptoms.

It is important to keep taking your medicine even if you feel well.

If you forget to take it

Take your dose as soon as you remember, and continue to take it as you would normally.

If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to.

Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed.

This may increase the chance of you getting an unwanted side effect.

If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some hints.

If you take too much (overdose)

Immediately telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (telephone Australia 13 11 26 or New Zealand 0800 POISON or 0800 764766) for advice, or go to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital, if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much Famciclovir Sandoz. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.

You may need urgent medical attention.

WHILE YOU ARE TAKING FAMCICLOVIR SANDOZ

Things you must do

Tell your pharmacist or doctor if your cold sore symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse.

If you become pregnant while taking this medicine, tell your doctor immediately. If you become pregnant, tell your doctor before you take any further doses of this medicine to treat recurring episodes of cold sores.

Your doctor can discuss with you the risks of taking it while you are pregnant.

If you are about to be started on any new medicine, remind your doctor and pharmacist that you are taking Famciclovir Sandoz.

Tell any other doctors, dentists or pharmacists who treat you that you are taking this medicine.

Things you must not do

Do not take Famciclovir Sandoz to treat any other complaints unless your doctor tells you to.

Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.

Do not stop taking your tablets or change the dosage without checking with your doctor first.

If you stop your tablets suddenly, your condition may worsen or you may have unwanted side effects.

Cold Sore

Do not take less than the recommended dose of 3 tablets, unless advised by your doctor.

Things to be careful of

Be careful driving, operating machinery or doing jobs that require you to be alert until you know how Famciclovir Sandoz affects you.

This medicine can cause dizziness, sleepiness or confusion in some people.

Genital Herpes

Avoid sexual intercourse when symptoms are present, even if you have started taking Famciclovir Sandoz, because the risk of infecting your partner is increased.

Things that may help your condition

Cold Sore

Cold sores are contagious and the virus can be passed on from person to person through close physical contact or saliva, even when blisters are not present. The risk is much higher when the cold sore is visible, as the virus can be shed, making it easy to infect other people.

Take the following precautions to avoid spreading the virus:

  • keep the areas affected by the virus as clean and dry as possible
  • avoid touching or scratching the sore area as you may spread the virus on your fingers
  • do not share any objects that have been in contact with a cold sore (e.g. drinking glasses, eating utensils, or towels)
  • avoid direct skin-to-skin contact of the area with other people (e.g. kissing) until the cold sore has healed.

Shingles

Take the following precautions to avoid spreading the virus:

  • keep the areas affected by the virus as clean and dry as possible
  • wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritating the rash
  • avoid touching or scratching the sore area as you may spread the virus on your fingers.

Genital Herpes

Take the following precautions to help manage your condition:

  • use condoms between episodes to reduce the risk of infecting your partner
  • keep the areas affected by the virus as clean and dry as possible
  • wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritating the blisters
  • avoid touching or scratching the sore area as you may spread the virus on your fingers.

SIDE EFFECTS

Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking Famciclovir Sandoz.

All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects.

Do not be alarmed by the following lists of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following side effects and they worry you:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
  • diarrhoea.

The above side effects are usually mild.

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:

  • a rash on other parts of your body, or a rash that is separate from the shingles rash,
  • extreme sleepiness or confusion, usually in older people
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there)
  • painful or swollen joints
  • aching muscles or muscle tenderness or weakness that is not caused by exercise.

The above list includes serious side effects may require medical attention.

If any of the following happen, tell your doctor immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital:

  • bruising or bleeding more easily than usual as it may indicate that the number of platelets (a type of blood cell responsible for blood clotting) in your blood are reduced
  • signs of a serious skin or mouth reaction, which may include widespread red, raised areas, blisters or sores
  • signs of a possible liver problem such as persistent pain in the upper right abdomen, yellowing of the skin and/or eyes, dark urine or pale bowel motions.

The above list includes very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation. These side effects are very rare.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some people.

AFTER TAKING FAMCICLOVIR SANDOZ

Storage

Keep your medicine in the original container.

If you take it out of its original container it may not keep well.

Keep your medicine in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 30°C.

Do not store Famciclovir Sandoz or any other medicine in the bathroom or near a sink. Do not leave it on a window sill or in the car.

Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.

Keep it where children cannot reach it.

A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.

Disposal

If your doctor tells you to stop taking this medicine or the expiry date has passed, ask your pharmacist what to do with any medicine that is left over.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

What it looks like

Famciclovir Sandoz comes in two types of tablets:

Famciclovir Sandoz 250mg - white, round film-coated tablets with "FV" on one side and "250" on the other.

Famciclovir Sandoz 500mg - white, oval film-coated tablets with "FV 500" on one side.

Famciclovir Sandoz 250mg is available in blister packs of 20, 21 and 56 tablets.

Famciclovir Sandoz 500mg is available in blister packs of 3, 30 and 56 tablets.

Ingredients

Active ingredients:

  • Famciclovir Sandoz 250mg - 250mg famciclovir
  • Famciclovir Sandoz 500mg - 500mg famciclovir

Inactive ingredients:

Famciclovir Sandoz 250 mg tablets contain:

  • hypromellose (E 464)
  • hydroxypropylcellulose (E 463)
  • lactose
  • macrogol
  • magnesium stearate (E 572)
  • sodium starch glycollate
  • titanium dioxide (E171).

Famciclovir Sandoz 250 mg tablets do not contain sucrose, gluten, tartrazine or any other azo dyes.

Famciclovir Sandoz 500 mg tablets contain:

  • hypromellose (E 464)
  • hydroxypropylcellulose (E 463)
  • macrogol
  • magnesium stearate (E 572)
  • sodium starch glycollate
  • titanium dioxide (E171).

Famciclovir Sandoz 500 mg tablets do not contain lactose, sucrose, gluten, tartrazine or any other azo dyes.