There is no cure for cold sores. Cold sores are caused by the HSV-1 virus, which stays in your body throughout your lifetime. This may sound disheartening—but try not to let it discourage you. Know that your symptoms will come and go, and often, you won’t have any at all. Also know that there are many treatments available to help you manage cold sores.
Over-the-counter vs prescription treatments
OTC means "over-the-counter," so you can buy them without a prescription. No OTC products contain both anti-inflammatory and antiviral medications. While OTCs may help some people, others will need a prescription-strength treatment.
Prescription medications require you to first see your doctor. Prescription medications that are indicated to treat cold sores all contain antivirals, which attack the HSV-1 virus itself. The type of antiviral medication may be different, and can be used in different ways (eg, pill vs cream).
Oral vs topical treatments
You also have choices on how you use your treatment. There are oral prescription antivirals (taken as a pill), and topical medications (gels, creams, or ointments that you apply to the cold sore itself). Some people find applying a product to the wound itself to be soothing on the skin, while others may prefer taking a pill. Topical medications can either be OTC or prescription—but only XERESE® combines an antiviral drug and an anti-inflammatory drug. This means it fights the virus itself and reduces cold sore symptoms such as tenderness.
Oral and topical medications may have different side effects. Always talk to your doctor about your treatment options. It's important to be an active part of your care so that you can most effectively manage your cold sores.
What makes XERESE different?
It’s important to remember that XERESE is not a cure—there is no cure for cold sores. But, it can help treat the symptoms, reduce severity, and speed healing time in some patients.
XERESE® (acyclovir and hydrocortisone) cream 5%/1% is a prescription medicine used in patients ages 6 and older to lessen the healing time of cold sores (herpes labialis) and lessen the chance of a cold sore becoming worse (ulcerating). It should be used early, at the first sign of a cold sore.