Docosanol

Generic Name: docosanol (doe-KOE-san-ole)
Brand Name: Abreva

Docosanol is used for:

Treating cold sores or fever blisters on the face or lips and shortening the duration of symptoms (eg, tingling, pain, itching, burning).

Do NOT use docosanol if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in docosanol

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using docosanol:

Some medical conditions may interact with docosanol. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with docosanol. However, no specific interactions with docosanol are known at this time.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if docosanol may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use docosanol:

Use docosanol as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Docosanol is for external use only. Apply only to affected areas. Do not get docosanol in your eyes. If you get docosanol in your eyes, rinse immediately with cool tap water.
  • Wash your hands before and after applying docosanol. Apply to affected area on face or lips at the first sign of a cold sore or fever blister (eg, bump, itch, tingle, redness). Early treatment ensures the best results. Rub the medicine in gently but completely.
  • Use docosanol 5 times a day until healed unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  • For best results, remove any cosmetics prior to applying docosanol.
  • You may apply cosmetics (eg, lipstick) over docosanol. Use a separate applicator, such as a cotton swab, to apply cosmetics over the unhealed sore to avoid spreading the infection.
  • If you miss a dose of docosanol, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use docosanol.

Important safety information:

  • Do not share this product with anyone. This may spread infection.
  • Stop using docosanol and contact your doctor if your cold sore gets worse or is not healed within 10 days.
  • Docosanol is not recommended for use in CHILDREN younger than 12 years of age without first checking with your doctor. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while using docosanol, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using docosanol during pregnancy. It is unknown if docosanol is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using docosanol, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of docosanol:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. When used in small doses, no COMMON side effects have been reported with docosanol. Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of docosanol:

Store docosanol at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Do not freeze. Keep docosanol out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about docosanol, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Docosanol is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take docosanol or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about docosanol. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to docosanol. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using docosanol.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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