Compare Valtrex vs. Famvir

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Treats viral infections.

Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is a first choice treatment for herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll control the signs and symptoms of an outbreak.

Treats viral infections.

Famvir (famciclovir) is a first choice medication for controlling the symptoms of viral infections like herpes, chickenpox, and shingles.

Upsides
  • Available as a generic, so it's relatively cheap.
  • Valtrex (Valacyclovir) has very few interactions with other medications.
  • Works well for most people to shorten the duration of outbreaks.
  • You don't have to take this medicine as often as other antiviral alternatives.
  • Famvir (famciclovir) has very few interactions with other drugs.
  • Famvir (famciclovir) is available in generic form.
  • Famvir (famciclovir) can be taken less frequently than other antiviral medications.
  • Taking Famvir (famciclovir) within 1 hour of developing cold sores can speed up healing times by about 2 days.
Downsides
  • Taking Valtrex (Valacyclovir) for genital herpes doesn't prevent you from transmitting the virus to others.
  • Finishing treatment with Valtrex (Valacyclovir) will not affect the severity and chance of getting a future herpes outbreak.
  • Elderly people are more likely to experience side effects such as hallucinations, confusion, and delerium when taking Valtrex (Valacyclovir).
  • Famvir (famciclovir) is not a cure and will only control the symptoms of an outbreak.
  • Taking Famvir (famciclovir) for genital herpes doesn't prevent you from transmitting the virus to others.
  • The dose of Famvir (famciclovir) needs to be adjusted if you have kidney damage.
  • It is unknown how Famvir (famciclovir) works for people younger than 18 years old.
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Used for
  • Herpes zoster (Shingles)
  • Treatment and suppression of recurrent genital herpes
  • Treatment of recurrent herpes labialis (cold sores)
  • Treatment of recurrent orolabial/genital herpes simplex in HIV-infected adults
  • Initial episode of genital herpes
  • Initial episode of herpes labialis in HIV patients
  • Herpes zoster in HIV patients
  • Suppression of recurrent genital herpes in HIV patients
  • Varicella (chickenpox) in HIV patients
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
2possible side effects
  • Headache
    17%
  • Nausea
    8%
See more detailed side effects
11possible side effects
  • Headache
    40%
  • Diarrhea
    9%
  • Abdominal pain
    8%
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding
    8%
  • Nausea
    7%
  • Flatulence
    5%
  • Fatigue
    5%
  • Migraine
    3%
  • Vomiting
    3%
  • Rash
    3%
  • Itching
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Renal effects
    • Dehydration
    • History of kidney damage
    • Concurrent use of drugs that harm the kidneys
  • CNS Effects
    • High doses of Valtrex (Valacyclovir)
    • Kidney damage
    • Elderly
  • Blood disorders
    • HIV
    • Bone transplant or renal transplant recipient
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Kidney damage
    • History of kidney damage
See more detailed risks and warnings