There is no cure for cold sores. Cold sores are caused by the HSV-1 virus, which stays in your body over 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 antiviral medications. So, they do not block the HSV-1 virus from replicating (copying itself). 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 (e.g., 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 (gel, cream 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?
- Xerese is the first and only cold sore medication that combines an antiviral drug (acyclovir) and an
anti-inflammatory drug (hydrocortisone) in one
- Acyclovir blocks the cold sore virus from replicating, or copying itself. Because the virus can no longer replicate, the cold sore outbreak is shortened.
- Hydrocortisone is a clinically proven treatment to reduce inflammation. Xerese reduces symptoms such as lesion size and tenderness.
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.
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