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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Abreva

Generic Name: docosanol topical (Pronunciation: doe KOE sah knoll)

What is docosanol topical (Abreva)?

Docosanol is an antiviral medication used to treat cold sore infections caused by the herpes simplex virus. Docosanol shortens the healing time and the length of time symptoms are present.

Docosanol topical is used to treat cold sores on the face and lips.

Docosanol may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of docosanol topical (Abreva)?

No serious side effects are expected with docosanol topical treatment. If you suspect an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; rash; hives; itching; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face) seek emergency medical attention.

Other less serious side effects are also uncommon. Headache has been reported.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about docosanol topical (Abreva)?

Cold sores are contagious before, during and after an outbreak or when blisters are present. Cold sore sufferers should avoid close physical or intimate contact, such as kissing, when having an outbreak.

Do not share docosanol topical with anyone. Sharing may spread the infection.

Avoid getting this medication in the eyes or mouth.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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