Common brand names:
Docosanol is used to treat "cold sores/fever blisters" (herpes labialis). It can speed up healing of the sores and decrease symptoms (such as tingling, pain, burning, itching). It works by blocking the virus that causes the cold sores (herpes simplex) from entering the healthy skin cells and growing in number. This medication does not cure herpes and does not prevent passing the infection to someone else. It does not prevent a future occurrence.
Do not use this medication to treat canker sores (sores found commonly in the mouth), shingles, or genital herpes.
How to Use This Medication
Follow all directions on the product package, or use as directed by your doctor. Use this medication at the first signs of a cold sore (such as tingling, burning, redness, or a bump). Wash and dry your hands before applying the medication. Clean and dry the affected areas. Apply a thin layer of medication to completely cover the area of the cold sore or the area of tingling/itching/redness/swelling and rub in gently, usually 5 times a day every 3-4 hours, or as directed by your doctor. Wash your hands with soap and water after applying. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Apply to skin only. Do not apply this medication in or near the eyes since this medication can irritate the eyes. If you do get medication in your eyes, flush with plenty of water. Do not apply inside the mouth or nose.
Remove any cosmetics from the affected area before applying. You may apply cosmetics after applying but use a separate applicator (such as a disposable cotton swab) on infected areas to prevent spreading the infection. If you accidentally wipe off the medication, reapply as soon as possible.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, type of infection, and response to treatment. Do not use this drug more often or for longer than directed.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. This medication works best when the amount of drug absorbed by the skin stays at a constant level. Therefore, use this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.
Cold sores (herpes) can spread easily. Docosanol does not prevent the spread of herpes. Avoid close physical contact with others (such as kissing) during an outbreak until the cold sores have completely healed. Also, try not to touch the cold sore, and wash your hands if you do touch the cold sore.
Stop using this medication and tell your doctor if your cold sores worsen or persist for more than 10 days.
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Information expires December 2017.