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an antiviral agent effective against activity viruses with a lipid envelope, including herpes simplex virus; used topically in the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis.


(doe-koe-sa-nole) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: antivirals
Pregnancy Category: B


Treatment of recurrent oral-facial herpes simplex (cold sores, fever blisters).


Prevents herpes simplex virus from entering cells by preventing viral particles from fusing with cell membranes.

Therapeutic effects

Reduced healing time.
Decreased duration of symptoms (pain, burning, itching, tingling).


Absorption: Unknown.
Distribution: Unknown.
Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown.
Half-life: Unknown.

Time/action profile



Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity to docosanol or any other components of the formulation (benzyl alcohol, mineral oil, propylene glycol, or sucrose).
Use Cautiously in: Children <12 yr (safety not established);Pregnancy (use only if clearly needed).

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

All local reactions occured at site of application


  • acne
  • skin
  • itching
  • rash


Drug-Drug interaction

None significant.


Topical (Adults and Children ≥12 yr) Apply small amount 5 times daily to sores on lips or face until healed.


Cream: 10% cream in 2 g tubesOTC

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess skin lesions prior to and periodically throughout therapy.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Impaired skin integrity, impaired (Indications)
Risk for infection, high risk for (Indications)
Deficient knowledge, related to disease process and medication regimen (Patient/Family Teaching)


  • Topical: Cream should be applied to lesions 5 times daily starting at the first sign of a sore or blister.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient on correct technique for application of docosanol. Cream should only be applied to lips and face. Avoid application in or near eyes. Emphasize handwashing following application, or touching lesions to prevent spread to others or to other areas of the body.
  • Advise patient to begin application of docosanol at the first sign of a sore or blister, even during prodromal stage (feeling of burning, itching, tingling, or numbness).
  • Inform patient that docosanol reduces duration of herpes simplex virus episodes but does not cure virus. Viral reactivation may be triggered by ultraviolet radiation or sun exposure, stress, fatigue, chilling, and windburn. Other possible triggers include fever, injury, menstruation, dental work, and infectious diseases (cold, flu).
  • Advise patient to notify health care professional if lesions do not heal in 14 days or if fever, rash, or swollen lymph nodes occur.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Reduction in duration of symptoms (pain, burning, itching, tingling) of herpes simplex virus episodes.


/do·co·sa·nol/ (do-ko´sah-nol) an antiviral effective against lipid-enveloped viruses, including herpes simplex virus; used in the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis.


an antiviral agent effective against activity viruses with a lipid envelope, including herpes simplex virus. It is used topically in the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis.
References in periodicals archive ?
Penciclovir and docosanol are topical medications used in managing orofacial herpes lesions (Woo & Robinson, 2016).
Docosanol prevents HSV from entering the host cell by interfering with HSV envelope and host cell membrane (Drugs.
Sacks SL, Thisted RA, Jones TM, et al; Docosanol 10% Cream Study Group.
1986), especificamente, no existen estudios en lo que autores han podido constatar, sobre la oxidacion de docosanol a acido docosanoico.
Se usaron los reactivos en la forma como fueron recibidos desde los fabricantes, estos fueron: sulfato de sodio de Scharlau (codigo SO0665); acido fosforico, diclorometano y peroxido de hidrogeno de Merck (codigos 815058, 106051 y 386790 respectivamente); docosanol (95%) de Sasol, tungstato bihidratado de sodio ([Na.
The mother is encouraged to buy OTC docosanol (Abreva[R]) ointment and to apply a small amount to the lip at the first sign of the tingling and burning of the lip region.
Clinical efficacy of topical docosanol 10% cream for herpes simplex labialis: A multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare's Abreva, which uses docosanol to treat cold sores and fever blisters on the face or lips, has had a significant impact on the market, according to Information Resources Inc.
Docosanol 10% cream (Abreva) applied five times per day effectively reduces the symptoms of recurrent perioral herpes sores, said Dr.
In a multicenter, randomized, doubleblind study, patients who had experienced herpes simplex labialis (HSL) symptoms for 12 hours or less were given either docosanol cream (370 patients) or placebo (367 patients) to be applied to the lesion area five times per day until healed or for a maximum of 10 days (J.
NEW YORK -- Avanir Pharmaceuticals may soon expand the marketing of docosanol 10% cream, its unique cold sore product, into China, southern Europe and north Africa.
In fact, last month SmithKline Beecham said it was getting ready to introduce an O-T-C version of docosanol 10% cream as a treatment for cold sores.