Classifications: antiviral-like;
Therapeutic: antiviral-like

Pregnancy Category: C


10% cream


Docosanol inhibits viral replication by interfering with the early intracellular events surrounding viral entry into target cells. It exhibits preferential activity against lipid-enveloped viruses that use fusion mechanisms for entry into target cells. This renders such target cells less susceptible to viral fusion or entry.

Therapeutic Effect

Believed to exert its antiviral effect by inhibiting fusion of the HSV (herpesvirus) envelope with the human cell plasma membrane, therefore making it difficult for the virus to enter the cell and replicate.


Treatment of herpes simplex infections of the face and lips (i.e., cold sores).


Hypersensitivity to docosanol or any of the inactive ingredients in the ointment; immunosuppressant patients; pregnancy (category C); lactation.

Cautious Use

Safety and efficacy in children are not established.

Route & Dosage

Herpes Simplex Infections
Adult: Topical Apply to lesions 5 times/d for up to 10 d, starting at onset of symptoms


  • Apply cream only to the affected areas using a gloved finger. Rub in gently but completely.
  • Do not apply near or in the eyes.
  • Avoid application to the mucous membranes inside of the mouth.
  • Store at 20°–25° C (68°–77° F).

Adverse Effects (≥1%)

CNS: Headache. Skin: Skin irritation, burning.


Drug: No clinically significant interactions established.

Nursing Implications

Assessment & Drug Effects

  • Monitor severity and extent of infection.
  • Notify physician if improvement is not seen within 10 days of initiating treatment

Patient & Family Education

  • Wash hands before and after applying cream.
  • Do not share this cream with any other individual as this may spread the herpes virus.
  • Report to physician if your condition worsens or does not improve within 10 days of beginning treatment.
  • Report to the emergency room or contact a poison control center immediately if a significant amount of cream is swallowed.

Common adverse effects in italic, life-threatening effects underlined; generic names in bold; classifications in SMALL CAPS; Canadian drug name; Prototype drug

© 2006-2022 Last Updated On: 09/16/2022 (0)
Wait 20 seconds...!!!