What Is Viractin Gel Used to Treat?


Quick Answer

Viractin Gel is an over-the-counter topical medication intended to relieve the pain and itching of cold sores, states eMedicine Health. This gel is only meant as an anesthetic; it doesn't help cold sores heal faster.

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Full Answer

Viractin Gel is also known by the generic name, tetracaine. This pain reliever is similar to lidocaine. It works by blocking nerve signals in the body, essentially numbing the area it is applied to.

Medical professionals may also use Viractin Gel to numb other areas of the body before a mildly painful medical procedure. However, this is a potent medication. Users should only dab on a small amount of the gel on the painful area of the skin, notes Everyday Health.

It is possible for users to overdose on tetracaine when too much of it is applied to the skin's surface, or users combine it with heat pads, bandages or plastic wrap. Tetracaine is also more easily absorbed through irritated and cut skin. An overdose of this gel can lead to uneven heartbeat, seizures, slowed breathing and respiratory failure.

Viractin can be used up to six times a day on cold sores, states eMedicine Health. Speak with a doctor before applying this gel to larger areas of the body or using it more frequently.

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