Our collective ears rise when we hear phrases like ‘clinically proven’ and ‘FDA-approved,’ as we gain confidence that such deemed products will produce favorable results. Abreva is an over-the-counter product that can make such claims and has gained a widespread following since its launch well over a decade ago. But can Abreva successfully get rid of angular cheilitis or is it just a waste of money for the condition? To answer the question, we have to first explore the type of approval Abreva received from the FDA, and if it has any bearing on perleche.
Turning the clock back, the FDA categorized Abreva as an antiviral agent, suitable to combat the herpes simplex virus, shortening the duration of cold sores. Abreva marketing became a no-brainer: Here’s a cream that can dramatically accelerate cold sore healing time and rapidly eradicate cold sores, even as quickly as 2.5 days.
Avanir Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline, responsible for manufacturing, marketing, and selling Abreva were sued, however, in a California court in 2007 because of purported, misleading claims that Abreva can cut cold sore healing time in half. The class action lawsuit was eventually settled but that particular claim went to the wayside. Still, Abreva can simply tout its fast-action cold sore efficacy.
It’s great that Abreva can arrest cold sores, but again, can it wield its mighty power against angular chielitis? Consider this important point: Angular cheilitis can be caused by bacteria or fungi. It is not thought to be a viral infection. As such, an antiviral agent, such as Abreva, is unlikely to provide any positive dividends for the angular cheilitis sufferer.
But you may counter that you’ve read some online testimonials from folks who declared that Abreva got rid of the cheilitis. While I’m not questioning the authenticity of the favorable reviews, it’s very possible that these individuals may have mistaken their cold sore condition for angular cheilitis. Both conditions are similar in appearance, and without medical diagnosis, can be easily misidentified. (Blisters accompany cold sores and do not necessarily appear when angular cheilitis materializes.) Here, Abreva deserves positive recognition but on a cold sore forum and not on an angular cheilitis forum.
In addition, the active ingredient of Abreva (or Docosanol) is behenyl alcohol thought to strengthen cell walls around healthy cells, making it much more difficult for the virus to replicate and create more unhealthy skin cells. In time, the virus loses its momentum and the symptoms clear. Unfortunately, behenyl alcohol does not have any antibacterial or antifungal properties.
In summary, Abreva does not heal or cure angular cheilitis. It’s not multifaceted where it can be used for a host of skin conditions. It’s target is the cold sore virus so its target audience should be those who are afflicted by cold sores.
The angular cheilitis community should take heart, however. Although Abreva should not be used for angular cheilitis, there are still many natural, over-the-counter, and prescription remedies (all highlighted on our website) that may be employed.