Drugs A - Z

Docosanol Topical cream

It skin cream treats herpes virus infections of the face and mouth

Generic Name: docosanol topical

Brand Names: Abreva

What is this medicine?

DOCOSANOL (doe KOE san ole) skin cream treats herpes virus infections of the face and mouth. These are also known as cold sores or fever blisters. This medicine will help the sores heal faster and relieve the pain or discomfort.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • immune system problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to docosanol, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for external use on the skin or lips. Do not use in the eye. Follow the directions on the label. Wash hands before and after use. Apply a thin layer of cream to cover the affected area completely. For best results, begin using this medicine at the first signs of a cold sore (tingle). Use your medicine at regular intervals. Do not use your medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 12 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Interactions are not expected. Do not use any other skin products on the affected area without telling your doctor or health care professional.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Even though you are using this medicine you can still pass herpes to another person. Try to keep the sores (blisters) from making contact with another person's skin.

Tell your doctor or health care professional if your symptoms do not start to get better after 10 days or if they get worse.

You can apply non-medicated cosmetics over the treated area. In order to prevent the spread of infection, use an applicator, like a cotton swab, to apply cosmetics or sunscreen over the cold sore.

Do not get this medicine in your eyes. If you do, rinse out with plenty of cool tap water.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • skin irritation, burning, or itching

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees C (59 and 77 degrees F). Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


Last Updated: April 07, 2009
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