Compare Zovirax vs. Famvir

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

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Treats viral infections.

Zovirax (Acyclovir) is good for treating viral infections like herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. It won't cure the disease, but it'll shorten the length of a breakout.

Treats viral infections.

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

Upsides
  • Used as a first-choice treatment for herpes, chickenpox, and shingles infections and breakouts.
  • Most people (including pregnant women) usually take the oral medication without experiencing any side effects.
  • Available as a generic, so it's relatively cheap.
  • Most people generally don't develop a resistance to Zovirax (Acyclovir).
  • Works well for most people to shorten the duration of outbreaks.
  • 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
  • Zovirax (Acyclovir) is not a cure for herpes, chickenpox, or shingles. It will only shorten the time you have a breakout.
  • If you're taking Zovirax (Acyclovir) for herpes, you should use barrier methods (condoms) when you're having sex since you can still pass it on to other people, even if you're taking the medication and you're not in a breakout.
  • You need to take this up to five times a day, so it can be inconvenient.
  • 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
  • Oral suspension
  • Dissolving tablet extended release
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
1possible side effects
  • Diarrhea
    3%
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
  • Kidney damage
  • Blood disorders
    • Weakened immune system
  • Confusion
    • Elderly
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Kidney damage
    • History of kidney damage
See more detailed risks and warnings