docosanol cream (OTC)

Brand and Other Names:Abreva
  • Print

Dosing & Uses

AdultPediatric

Dosage Forms & Strengths

cream

  • 10%

Cold sore/fever blister

Wash hands before using

Apply topically to cover all lesions 5 times/day; rub gently but completely

Dosage Forms & Strengths

cream

  • 10%

Cold sore/fever blister

< 12 years

  • Safety & efficacy not established; ask a doctor

>12 years

  • Wash hands before using
  • Apply topically to cover all lesions 5 times/day; rub gently but completely
Next:

Adverse Effects

1-10%

Headache

Application site reaction (e.g., burning, stinging)

Previous
Next:

Warnings

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity

Cautions

For external use only

Apply only to affected areas

Not for use in or near eyes

Avoid applying inside mouth

Sharing product with other people may spread infection

Patient should stop using product if cold sore gets worse or not healed within 10 days and seek help

If swallowed by child contact poison control right away

Product may cause severe allergic reaction; symptoms may include facial swelling, shock, rash, hives, wheezing/difficulty breathing; patient should stop use and seek medical help immediately if symptoms occur

Previous
Next:

Pregnancy & Lactation

Pregnancy Category: NA

Lactation: Not studied

Pregnancy Categories

A: Generally acceptable. Controlled studies in pregnant women show no evidence of fetal risk.

B: May be acceptable. Either animal studies show no risk but human studies not available or animal studies showed minor risks and human studies done and showed no risk.

C: Use with caution if benefits outweigh risks. Animal studies show risk and human studies not available or neither animal nor human studies done.

D: Use in LIFE-THREATENING emergencies when no safer drug available. Positive evidence of human fetal risk.

X: Do not use in pregnancy. Risks involved outweigh potential benefits. Safer alternatives exist.

NA: Information not available.

Previous
Next:

Pharmacology

Mechanism of Action

Exerts its antiviral effect on HSV by inhibiting fusion of the virus envelope with host cell plasma membranes, resulting in inhibition of viral entry into cells and subsequent viral replication

Previous
Next:

Images

BRAND FORM. UNIT PRICE PILL IMAGE
Abreva topical
-
10 % cream
Abreva topical
-
10 % cream
Abreva topical
-
10 % cream

Copyright © 2010 First DataBank, Inc.

Previous
Next:

Patient Handout

Patient Education
docosanol topical

DOCOSANOL - TOPICAL

(doe-COE-sah-noll)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Abreva

USES: Docosanol is used to treat "cold sores/fever blisters" (herpes labialis). It can speed up healing of the sores and decrease symptoms (such as tingling, pain, burning, itching). It works by blocking the virus that causes the cold sores (herpes simplex) from entering the healthy skin cells and growing in number. This medication does not cure herpes and does not prevent passing the infection to someone else. It does not prevent a future occurrence.Do not use this medication to treat canker sores (sores found commonly in the mouth), shingles, or genital herpes.

HOW TO USE: Follow all directions on the product package, or use as directed by your doctor. Use this medication at the first signs of a cold sore (such as tingling, burning, redness, or a bump). Wash and dry your hands before applying the medication. Clean and dry the affected areas. Apply a thin layer of medication to completely cover the area of the cold sore or the area of tingling/itching/redness/swelling and rub in gently, usually 5 times a day every 3-4 hours, or as directed by your doctor. Wash your hands with soap and water after applying. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.Apply to skin only. Do not apply this medication in or near the eyes since this medication can irritate the eyes. If you do get medication in your eyes, flush with plenty of water. Do not apply inside the mouth or nose.Remove any cosmetics from the affected area before applying. You may apply cosmetics after applying but use a separate applicator (such as a disposable cotton swab) on infected areas to prevent spreading the infection. If you accidentally wipe off the medication, reapply as soon as possible.Dosage is based on your medical condition, type of infection, and response to treatment. Do not use this drug more often or for longer than directed.Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. This medication works best when the amount of drug absorbed by the skin stays at a constant level. Use this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.Cold sores (herpes) can spread easily. Docosanol does not prevent the spread of herpes. Avoid close physical contact with others (such as kissing) during an outbreak until the cold sores have completely healed. Also, try not to touch the cold sore, and wash your hands if you do touch the cold sore.Stop using this medication and tell your doctor if your cold sores get worse or last for more than 10 days.

SIDE EFFECTS: Redness or swelling may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

PRECAUTIONS: Before using docosanol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: If you are using this product under your doctor's direction, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.

OVERDOSE: This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. Doing so may spread the infection.Cold sore outbreaks can be caused by many factors such as stress, hormonal changes (such as pregnancy, menstrual period), injury/surgery on the mouth (such as dental work), tiredness, sunlight, cold weather, or fever/cold/flu.

MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.

STORAGE: Store at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C). Protect from freezing. If you have any questions about storage, ask your pharmacist. Keep all drug products away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Information last revised March 2022. Copyright(c) 2022 First Databank, Inc.

IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

Previous
Medscape prescription drug monographs are based on FDA-approved labeling information, unless otherwise noted, combined with additional data derived from primary medical literature.