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Abreva Docosanol: Does it Get Rid of Cold Sores?

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The pros and cons of using Abreva to help alleviate cold sores.

Oral herpes is, without a doubt, one of the most frequent and uncomfortable illnesses anyone can present in the course of their life. This involves not only the lips but also the gums and the entire oral cavity. It is difficult to continue your life normally if you have a lesion on your lips, visible to everyone who sees you, or an ulcer that does not allow you to eat well, or that hurts or itches.

For many years, drugs such as Abreva and therapeutic agents such as hydrogen peroxide and saltwater mouthwashes have been strictly designed to improve the state of the mouth in patients with cold sores. With the advancement of technology, experts have discovered new compounds and treatments which seem to be effective, but never fully treat the problem.

However, this is not the case with Abreva Docosanol. This novel topical agent can effectively attack the herpes virus, the cause of all this discomfort. Its formula is specifically designed to improve the condition of your lesions and cure it completely.

However, without a doubt, the most important factor behind Abreva is that it has the approval of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), the biggest organization when it comes to therapeutic agents and medicines.

The Science Behind Abreva Docosanol

Docosanol is a fatty acid that has a direct active function against the herpes simplex virus. It prevents host cells from fusing with the virus so it won't replicate. The final effect is that the virus will decrease its multiplication and eventually die.

Docosanol is the most important active ingredient of Abreva, which is at a concentration of 10% (this being the effective concentration). According to medical studies, docosanol has been shown to significantly shorten healing time, as well as alleviate the secondary symptoms of cold sores.

The Advantages of Abreva

A Guaranteed Effect

What we most often want is a product that does what it says.

Abreva is more than that; it often exceeds patients' expectations. But the most important thing, and this is the best sign of safety, is that, since 2000, the FDA has approved this treatment as one of the possible methods to cure cold sores. The simple fact that the FDA approves it and states that it can shorten the healing time and the duration of symptoms should be enough to encourage us to try it.

Double Action

It is not only about relieving symptoms, but also about curing the disease. Having a cold sore means not only suffering from pain and itching, but also from uncomfortable lesions in our mouth that can make us look bad.

The best thing about Abreva is that it is aimed at ending these two problems from the root, not only mitigating the symptoms but also limiting the replication of the virus to prevent it from progressing further. 

Price

Most Abreva-like products that claim to treat cold sores are often much more expensive and only provide temporary benefits. Other brands may cost twice as much for each tube of cream. The price and availability of Abreva is, without a doubt, a plus that we must consider.

Sometimes we don't mind spending a lot of money on a specific product if it is a real solution, but Abreva costs much less and is truly effective.

Adapted to your Needs

Each tube of Abreva contains exactly what you need. The manufacturer assures, and its users as well, that each tube lasts at least two to three episodes.

No doubt, it will always depend on the magnitude of the symptoms and the progression of the disease. More Abreva will be needed in those advanced lesions, which last much longer.

Is Abreva the perfect product?

There are some factors that keep us from thinking that Abreva is the ideal topical agent. It is necessary to remember that, like any existing pharmacological product, it does not escape having some undesirable effects or contraindications that are worth mentioning. Let's talk a little about the cons of Abreva.

There is no definitive solution

The proper solution can be different when it comes to cold sores. Just to give an example, the "viral load", which refers to the amount of virus present at some point, may be higher or lower in different people so the effect of Abreva may not be the same in everyone.

Some will not solve their problem completely, so they should use adjuvant therapy that consists of other measures which have shown positive effects on the treatment of cold sores, such as vitamin C. In addition, you may need to see your doctor under certain circumstances (when there are many lesions, when they get worse, or when it has been a long time since the first lesion appeared). Depending on your state, you may need Acyclovir, a specific antiviral for herpes.

Lack of studies on its use

Despite the fact that the FDA approved and certified it as a product that has been shown to have a real effect on the lesions and symptoms that accompany cold sores, we cannot say that it is for every patient.

More studies are needed to show that Abreva is safe for use on pregnant women or children since these are populations frequently affected by the herpes virus. You should not use Abreva if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Definitive Contraindications

Beyond the above, there are certain patients who cannot use Abreva. This exclusive and very small group includes immunosuppressed patients or some people with diseases that compromise the immune system. Some typical examples would be those patients with cancer, diabetes, HIV, etc.

The explanation is simple: Docosanol prevents the virus from replicating so our immune system can eliminate it without the virus increasing its number. However, if there is no immune system, the virus will continue to do harm even though it does not multiply so your lesions will not get better.

Ideally, if you have any of these complications, you should use the Aciclovir treatment directly and some other powerful adjuvant if needed, such as Foscarnet.

Final Thoughts 

If you want to avoid uncomfortable moments and are tired of suffering for long periods with this disease, it's time to try Abreva and realize what a quality product, designed for you, can do.

Next Article: Herbs and Supplements for Canker Sores