Home » Drug Information » FDA Approved Drugs » 1997
Medical Areas: Immunology | Infections and Infectious Diseases
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The following drug information is obtained from various newswires, published
medical journal articles, and medical conference presentations.
Company: SmithKline Beecham
Approval Status: Approved September 17, 1997
Treatment Area: herpes simplex
Famvir has been approved for the suppression of recurrent
genital herpesin a daily formulation.
Patients receiving Famvir 250 mg twice daily had approximately
80% fewer outbreaks.
It is estimated that at least 31 million Americans have genital
herpes, a sexually transmitted disease spread through sexual
contact with an infected partner. Genital herpes is a contagious
viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Each
year, an estimated 500,000 new cases occur. In the United States
alone, up to 80 percent of the subjects with genital herpes suffer
from symptomatic recurrences of the disease following an initial
Despite these epidemic proportions, the public does not
recognize the prevalence of genital herpes. According to a recent
Gallup survey, only 17% of people in six Western countries named
genital herpes when asked to name STDs other than AIDS. Among
United States respondents, the vast majority believes that the
prevalence of genital herpes is on the order of one in 1000 or one
in 500. Only 2% correctly guessed the actual prevalence.
During a recurrence of genital herpes, subjects may experience
painful sores, as well as tenderness and burning in the genital
area. Those infected can spread the disease to others through viral
shedding, the time during which the subject is infectious. Many
subjects with genital herpes experience an average of five
outbreaks--or recurrences--per year, although some may have as many
as two to three per month.