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Docosanol topical

Generic Name: docosanol topical (doe KOE sa nol)
Brand Name: Abreva, Abreva Pump

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Dec 18, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is docosanol topical?

Docosanol topical (for the skin) is used to treat cold sores on the face and lips.

Docosanol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use docosanol topical if you are allergic to it.

Ask a doctor before using docosanol topical if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do not use this medicine on a child younger than 12 years old without medical advice.

How should I use docosanol topical?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. Rinse with water if this medicine gets in your eyes or mouth.

Apply this medicine at the first sign of a cold sore, such as tingling, redness, itching, or a blister.

Wash your hands before and after applying docosanol topical.

Remove any cosmetics before applying docosanol topical. Apply enough medicine to completely cover the cold sore. Rub in gently and completely.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve within 10 days, or if they get worse.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not apply two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of docosanol is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using docosanol topical?

Do not share docosanol topical with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have. Sharing this medicine may spread the infection.

Avoid getting this medicine in your eyes or mouth.

Docosanol topical side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; feeling light-headed; wheezing, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects may be more likely, and you may have none at all.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Docosanol topical dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Herpes Simplex:

Apply to affected area on face or lips 5 times a day beginning at the first sign of cold sore or fever blister (i.e., tingling)

Use: For the treatment of cold sores or fever blisters on the face or lips

Usual Pediatric Dose for Herpes Simplex:

12 years or older: Apply to affected area on face or lips 5 times a day beginning at the first sign of cold sore or fever blister (i.e., tingling)

Use: For the treatment of cold sores or fever blisters on the face or lips

What other drugs will affect docosanol topical?

Medicine used on the skin is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.