The efficacy of Famvir® (famciclovir) has not been established for initial episode genital herpes infection, ophthalmic zoster, disseminated zoster or in immunocompromised patients with herpes zoster.
Dosage adjustment is recommended when administering Famvir to patients with creatinine clearance values < 60 mL/min. (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). In patients with underlying renal disease who have received inappropriately high doses of Famvir for their level of renal function, acute renal failure has been reported.
Famvir 125 mg, 250 mg and 500 mg tablets contain lactose (26.9 mg, 53.7 mg and 107.4 mg, respectively). Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, a severe lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take Famvir 125 mg, 250 mg and 500 mg tablets.
Information for Patients
Patients should be informed that Famvir is not a cure for genital herpes. There are no data evaluating whether Famvir will prevent transmission of infection to others. As genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, patients should avoid contact with lesions or intercourse when lesions and/or symptoms are present to avoid infecting partners. Genital herpes can also be transmitted in the absence of symptoms through asymptomatic viral shedding. If medical management of recurrent episodes is indicated, patients should be advised to initiate therapy at the first sign or symptom.
There is no evidence that Famvir will affect the ability of a patient to drive or to use machines. However, patients who experience dizziness, somnolence, confusion or other central nervous system disturbances while taking Famvir should refrain from driving or operating machinery.
Concurrent use with probenecid or other drugs significantly eliminated by active renal tubular secretion may result in increased plasma concentrations of penciclovir.
The conversion of 6-deoxy penciclovir to penciclovir is catalyzed by aldehyde oxidase. Interactions with other drugs metabolized by this enzyme and/or inhibiting this enzyme could potentially occur.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Famciclovir was administered orally unless otherwise stated.
Two-year dietary carcinogenicity studies with famciclovir were conducted in rats and mice. An increase in the incidence of mammary adenocarcinoma (a common tumor in animals of this strain) was seen in female rats receiving the high dose of 600 mg/kg/day (1.1 to 4.5x the human systemic exposure at the recommended total daily oral dose ranging between 2000 mg and 500 mg, based on area under the plasma concentration curve comparisons [24 hr AUC] for penciclovir). No increases in tumor incidence were reported in male rats treated at doses up to 240 mg/kg/day (0.7 to 2.7x the human AUC), or in male and female mice at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day (0.3 to 1.2x the human AUC).
Famciclovir and penciclovir (the active metabolite of famciclovir) were tested for genotoxic potential in a battery of in vitro and in vivo assays. Famciclovir and penciclovir were negative in in vitro tests for gene mutations in bacteria (S. typhimurium and E. coli) and unscheduled DNA synthesis in mammalian HeLa 83 cells (at doses up to 10,000 and 5,000 mcg/plate, respectively). Famciclovir was also negative in the L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay (5000 mcg/mL), the in vivo mouse micronucleus test (4800 mg/kg), and rat dominant lethal study (5000 mg/kg). Famciclovir induced increases in polyploidy in human lymphocytes in vitro in the absence of chromosomal damage (1200 mcg/mL). Penciclovir was positive in the L5178Y mouse lymphoma assay for gene mutation/chromosomal aberrations, with and without metabolic activation (1000 mcg/mL). In human lymphocytes, penciclovir caused chromosomal aberrations in the absence of metabolic activation (250 mcg/mL). Penciclovir caused an increased incidence of micronuclei in mouse bone marrow in vivo when administered intravenously at doses highly toxic to bone marrow (500 mg/kg), but not when administered orally.
Impairment of Fertility
Testicular toxicity was observed in rats, mice, and dogs following repeated administration of famciclovir or penciclovir. Testicular changes included atrophy of the seminiferous tubules, reduction in sperm count, and/or increased incidence of sperm with abnormal morphology or reduced motility. The degree of toxicity to male reproduction was related to dose and duration of exposure. In male rats, decreased fertility was observed after 10 weeks of dosing at 500 mg/kg/day (1.4 to 5.7x the human AUC). The no observable effect level for sperm and testicular toxicity in rats following chronic administration (26 weeks) was 50 mg/kg/day (0.15 to 0.6x the human systemic exposure based on AUC comparisons). Testicular toxicity was observed following chronic administration to mice (104 weeks) and dogs (26 weeks) at doses of 600 mg/kg/day (0.3 to 1.2x the human AUC) and 150 mg/kg/day (1.3 to 5.1x the human AUC), respectively.
Famciclovir had no effect on general reproductive performance or fertility in female rats at doses up to 1000 mg/kg/day (2.7 to 10.8x the human AUC).
Two placebo-controlled studies in a total of 130 otherwise healthy men with a normal sperm profile over an 8-week baseline period and recurrent genital herpes receiving oral Famvir (250 mg b.i.d.) (n=66) or placebo (n=64) therapy for 18 weeks showed no evidence of significant effects on sperm count, motility or morphology during treatment or during an 8-week follow-up.
Teratoge nic Effectsâ€“Pregnancy Category B
Famciclovir was tested for effects on embryo-fetal development in rats and rabbits at oral doses up to 1000 mg/kg/day (approximately 2.7 to 10.8x and 1.4 to 5.4x the human systemic exposure to penciclovir based on AUC comparisons for the rat and rabbit, respectively) and intravenous doses of 360 mg/kg/day in rats (1.5 to 6x the human dose based on body surface area [BSA] comparisons) or 120 mg/kg/day in rabbits (1.1 to 4.5x the human dose [BSA]). No adverse effects were observed on embryo-fetal development. Similarly, no adverse effects were observed following intravenous administration of penciclovir to rats (80 mg/kg/day, 0.3 to 1.3x the human dose [BSA]) or rabbits (60 mg/kg/day, 0.5 to 2.1x the human dose [BSA]). There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, famciclovir should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit to the patient clearly exceeds the potential risk to the fetus.
Pregnancy Exposure Registry
To monitor maternal-fetal outcomes of pregnant women exposed to Famvir, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation maintains a Famvir Pregnancy Registry. Physicians are encouraged to register their patients by calling (888) 669-6682.
Following oral administration of famciclovir to lactating rats, penciclovir was excreted in breast milk at concentrations higher than those seen in the plasma. It is not known whether it is excreted in human milk. There are no data on the safety of Famvir in infants. Famciclovir should not be used in nursing mothers unless the potential benefits are considered to outweigh the potential risks associated with treatment.
Usage in Children
Safety and efficacy in children under the age of 18 years have not been established.
Of 816 patients with herpes zoster in clinical studies who were treated with Famvir, 248 (30.4%) were ≥65 years of age and 103 (13%) were ≥75 years of age. No overall differences were observed in the incidence or types of adverse events between younger and older patients.
Of 610 patients with recurrent herpes simplex (type 1 or type 2) in clinical studies who were treated with Famvir, 26 (4.3%) were > 65 years of age and 7 (1.1%) were > 75 years of age. Clinical studies of Famvir did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects.
In general, appropriate caution should be exercised in the administration and monitoring of Famvir in elderly patients reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.