Abreva Topical


|Abreva Topical

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Abreva


  • Antiviral, topical


Docosanol (doe-KOE-san-ole) belongs to the family of medicines called antivirals. Antivirals are used to treat infections caused by viruses. Usually they work for only one kind or group of virus infections.

Topical docosanol is used to treat the symptoms of herpes simplex virus infections around the mouth. Although topical docosanol will not cure herpes simplex, it may help relieve the pain and discomfort and may help the sores (if any) heal faster.

Docosanol is available over the counter in the following dosage form:

  • Topical
  • Cream (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For docosanol, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to docosanol. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy—Topical docosanol has not been studied in pregnant women. However, this medicine has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies using rats or rabbits.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether docosanol passes into breast milk. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are taking this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.

Children—Although there is no specific information comparing use of docosanol in children with use in other age groups , this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of docosanol in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other topical prescription or nonprescription OTC medicine that is to be applied to the same area of the skin.

Proper Use of This Medicine

Do not use this medicine in or around the eyes or on the genitalia .

Docosanol is best used as soon as possible after the signs and symptoms of herpes infection (for example, pain, burning, or blisters) begin to appear .

Apply the medication to the sores (blisters); rub in gently and completely.

To help clear up your herpes infection, continue using docosanol for the full time of treatment . Do not miss any doses . However, do not use this medicine more often or for a longer time than your health care professional or the OTC label indicates .

Dosing—The dose of topical docosanol can be different for different patients. Follow your doctor"s orders. You may also follow the directions on the label if you are 12 years of age or older. The following information includes only the average dose of topical docosanol. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For topical dosage form (cream):
    • Adults and adolescents:
      • Apply to the affected area(s), five times a day until sore is healed.
      • Rub in gently and completely
    • Children under 12 years of age
      • Use and dosage must be determined by your doctor.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Ask your health care professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome.

More common


Less common

Surface problems including:; acne; burning; dryness; itching; rash ; redness; soreness; swelling

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Revised: 12/22/2000

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