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INTRODUCTION

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docosanol (doe-koe-sa-nole)

Abreva

Classification

Therapeutic: antivirals (topical)

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

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Action
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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).

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Adverse Reactions/Side Effects
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All local reactions occurred at site of application Local: acne, skin, itching, rash.

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PHYSICAL THERAPY IMPLICATIONS

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Examination and Evaluation
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  • Assess skin and mucosal lesions to help determine if drug therapy is successful in controlling infection. Report any local irritation or skin reactions (rash, itching, acne) at the application site.

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Interventions
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  • Avoid contact with cutaneous or mucosal lesions when treating patient.

  • Always wash hands thoroughly and disinfect equipment (whirlpools, electrotherapeutic devices, treatment tables, and so forth) to help prevent the spread of infection. Use universal precautions as indicated for specific patients.

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Patient/Client-Related Instruction
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  • Advise patient to apply medication as directed. Docosanol should not be used more frequently or longer than prescribed.

  • Remind patient that docosanol does not cure herpes infections. The virus lies dormant in nerve cells, and this drug will not prevent the spread of infection to others.

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Pharmacokinetics
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Absorption: Unknown.

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Distribution: Unknown.

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Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown.

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Half-life: Unknown.

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TIME/ACTION PROFILE

ROUTE ONSET PEAK DURATION
Topical unknown unknown unknown

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Contraindications/Precautions
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Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity to docosanol or any other components of the formulation (benzyl alcohol, mineral oil, propylene glycol, or sucrose).

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Use Cautiously in: Children <12 yr (safety not established); Pregnancy (use only if clearly needed).

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Interactions
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Drug-Drug: None significant.

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

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Availability
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Cream: 10% cream in 2-g tubes OTC.

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