Herpes Home > Generic Abreva

Generic Abreva (docosanol) is currently not available in the United States, despite the fact that the drug's first patent has already expired. It's important not to confuse the active ingredient in a drug with its generic version. For example, docosanol is not a form of generic Abreva; it's the active ingredient.

Generic Abreva: An Overview

Abreva® (docosanol) is a non-prescription cold sore treatment. It is the only non-prescription product approved to shorten the healing time and the duration of cold sore symptoms.
Abreva is made by Avanir Pharmaceuticals and is distributed by GlaxoSmithKline. It is currently under the protection of a patent that prevents any generic Abreva from being manufactured in the United States.

When Will Generic Abreva Be Available?

The first patent for Abreva expired in December 2013. However, no generic versions are yet available. This suggests that another patent, set to expire in April 2014, may be providing protection against generic competition. This is the earliest predictable date that a generic version of the drug could become available.
However, other circumstances could come up to extend the exclusivity period beyond April 2014. This could include such things as other patents for specific Abreva uses or lawsuits. Once the patent expires, several companies will likely begin manufacturing generic Abreva.

Is Docosanol the Same as Generic Abreva?

No -- docosanol is the active ingredient in Abreva, but is not a generic version of it. What can be confusing is that, oftentimes, the active ingredient of any drug is referred to as the "generic name."

The generic name is different from a generic version of a medicine. In order for there to be a generic version of a medicine, the original medicine must have gone off-patent and another company besides the original manufacturer must make the product.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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