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Hello! My husband is 43 years old and he has shingles for the first time in his life. I was very worried but our doctor explained that this is just reactivation of herpes zoster virus which he got in his childhood. The rush is rather painful and only on his chests. He is taking Famvir (500 mg every eight hours), cool compresses over the lesions and cool bath once a day. The problem is he likes to drink very much and I don’t know what to do. He keeps telling me that few beers can’t do any harm but I don’t know is it safe to drink alcohol when taking Famvir for shingles?

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Hi! Your doctor explained very well what the shingles is. It is very important for the patient to have all available information. Your husband is probably one of five people who had chickenpox infection when he was a boy and the virus has just waked up now. Some doctors only prescribe pain relievers but Famvir is now one of the most used medicines in treatment of shingles. It reduces the pain and duration of rash. I would not recommend drinking alcohol and taking any of antiviral medicines since it can increase the side effects such as nausea and headache, even diarrhea. When Famvir is used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection, taking of alcohol is strongly forbidden, which is not your case, but I would be careful. I hope that your husband doesn’t have kidney problems or liver problems since this affects the dose he should take and could lead to complications in combination with alcohol.
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I just got prescribed this medication just now for shingles and as I'm an alcoholic I asked about alcohol, my doctor said though not advised it isn't dangerous but could limit or diminish the full effect of the medication. Hope that helps a bit. Not a lot of alcohol of coarse in general is bad but alcohol itself does not have a serious reaction with this particular medication for shingles
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