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All about: Denavir Topical

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Denavir


  • Antiviral, topical


Penciclovir (pen-SYE-kloe-veer) belongs to the family of medicines called antivirals. Antivirals are used to treat infections caused by viruses. Usually they work for only one kind or group of virus infections.

Topical penciclovir is used to treat the symptoms of herpes simplex virus infections around the mouth (cold sores). Although topical penciclovir will not cure herpes simplex, it may help relieve the pain and discomfort and may help the sores heal faster.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form:

  • Topical
  • Cream (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For topical penciclovir, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to penciclovir. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy—Topical penciclovir has not been studied in pregnant women. However, this medicine has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether topical penciclovir passes into the breast milk. However, it does pass into the milk in animals when given orally. Although most medicines pass into breast milk in small amounts, many of them may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are taking this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.

Children—There is no specific information comparing the use of topical penciclovir in children with use in other age groups.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. There is no specific information comparing use of penciclovir in the elderly with use in other age groups. However, this medicine has been used in some older patients and has not been found to cause different side effects or other problems than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of topical penciclovir. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Immune system problems—It is not known if this medicine will work properly in patients with these problems

Proper Use of This Medicine

This medicine should only be used on the lips or face .

Penciclovir is best used as soon as possible after the symptoms of herpes infection (for example, pain, burning, or blisters) begin to appear .

Do not use this medicine in or near the eyes .

Do not use this medicine inside the mouth or nose or on other internal parts of the body .

Dosing—The dose of topical penciclovir will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of topical penciclovir. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For topical dosage form (cream):
    • For herpes simplex infection (cold sores):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected area(s) of the skin every two hours, while awake, for four days.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Keep the medicine from freezing.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:


Mild pain, burning, or stinging

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common


Less common

Change in sense of taste; decreased sensitivity of skin, particularly to touch; redness of the skin; skin rash

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Developed: 07/12/1997
Revised: 08/12/1998

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