Docosanol (Abreva) is a long-chain saturated
alcohol that is clinically effective against HSV. It has in vitro ac-tivity
against many enveloped viruses, including CMV, influenzavirus, and respiratory
Docosanol is not directly
virucidal; instead, it blocks the entry of the virion into the host cell by
inhibiting the fusion of the viral envelope with the host plasma mem-brane. Because it does not affect viral replication
or pro-tein production, it may be less susceptible to the develop-ment of
resistance than other antiviral drugs.
Docosanol is topically
applied; systemic absorption is minimal.
Docosanol cream is approved
for the over-the-counter treatment of herpes labialis. It shortens the duration
of symptoms of cold sores and fever blisters but does not provide symptomatic
Adverse effects of docosanol
are minimal. Skin irrita-tion occurs infrequently. Drug interactions are not