Abreva for Cold Sores
Abreva® (docosanol) is a nonprescription drug used to treat cold sores. It is the first (and currently only) cold sore medication available over-the-counter (OTC).
Because it does not attack the cold sore virus, Abreva is not considered an antiviral medication in the traditional sense. Instead, the medication works by changing the cell membranes of healthy, uninfected cells. These changes help prevent the cold sore virus from getting into healthy cells.
(To read more about treating cold sores with this product, click Abreva Uses. This article also discusses whether children can use this product, as well as why it is sometimes used "off-label.")