n-Docosanol 10% cream in the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Acta Derm Venereol. 1996 Nov;76(6):479-81. doi: 10.2340/0001555576479481.


n-Docosanol has been shown to have antiviral activity. To demonstrate the efficacy of n-docosanol 10% cream in the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis, a randomised, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled study was undertaken in 63 patients. In a crossover extension, 22 of the patients used the alternative treatment for a further episode. A total of 98 episodes were evaluated. Application of n-docosanol 10% cream early in the prodromal or erythema stage of a recurrent episode of herpes labialis shortened mean healing time by approximately 3 days, as compared to late treatment with n-docosanol 10% cream and early or late treatment with the placebo. The crossover study revealed that late treatment with n-docosanol 10% cream significantly reduced mean healing time compared to placebo. Treatments were well tolerated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Alcohols / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Alcohols / adverse effects
  • Herpes Labialis / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Recurrence


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Ointments
  • docosanol