Cold Sore Treatments (How to eliminate and or reduce cold sores)

What can I do to prevent cold sores (fever blisters)?

Reduce stress, exercise, and eat right.  The virus reactivates when your body is worn down.  Easier things to do are avoid direct stress to your lips, such as sun and wind damage.  Remember they are very contagious from the time they rupture until the time they heal; and even though many that get infected do not have symptoms you do not want any of your loved ones contracting the virus that causes them.

LASER Treatment – To Eliminate

If caught in time (before the vesicle ruptures and begins to crust) the laser is the best treatment that we can offer.  We can treat as early as when you first feel the “tingle” and as late as right before the vesicle ruptures (as pictured below).  We have used the specific laser that is used to treat cold sores since 2009, but mainly we use it for other purposes.  The laser will eliminate an outbreak from occurring if caught very early and significantly reduce both the pain and time if caught before it ruptures.  It is claimed that the lesion will not return to the same site ever again!  That is
great news for those that have lesions recur in the same spot.  We have used it on several occasions for this purpose and both myself and the patients have been very impressed with the results.    For more information, and even some video of this 5 minutes procedure, simply search “cold sore laser treatment” online.

Bottom Line.
Go after viral outbreaks with everything we have to help lessen your suffering.  Here are the three medications that can be used simultaneously.  You will need a prescription for the first two the last one is OTC.

#1 Take Valtrex
(Valacyclovir) 2 grams at first signs of symptoms and then 2 more grams 12 hours later.  These must be taken before vesicles rupture otherwise it is totally useless.  The earlier the better with this medication.

#2 Use Denavir (Penciclovir 1%) and apply the gel to the lesion every 2 hours while awake for 4 days.

#3 Use Abreva (Docosanol 10%) and apply the gel on area 5 times a day until lesion is gone.

Be sure to wash hands after applying the gels so that you do not spread the infection to others, or better yet apply the gels with a q-tip so as not to touch the lesion.  Both gels are very safe but do not apply inside your mouth or get any in your eyes.  If you have serious renal problems then you may not be able to take the Valacyclovir.

Cold sore about to rupture.  At this point we can still use the laser to eliminate the cold sore.

 Cold Sores Treatments

There are several medications available to treat cold sores. Some are used topically and others are taken orally. Cold sores are best treated as early as possible. Starting a medication when prodromal symptoms such as burning, tingling, or redness start gives the best chance of keeping the cold sores from developing or shortening their course.

Cold Sore Treatment Effects

Antiviral drugs can have several effects on oral herpes simplex virus infections. Examples of the effects of antiviral medications on cold sores include:
  • Decrease the time it takes for cold sores to heal
  • Reduce symptoms – especially pain
  • Prevent lesions from occurring if taken soon enough
  • Reduce the number of lesions developed if taken soon enough
  • Reduce the size of lesions developed if taken soon enough
  • Reduce the amount of viral shedding

Cold Sore Treatment – Valacyclovir

Valtrex (Valacyclovir) is approved by the FDA to treat cold sores.  If started at the first sign of symptoms, taking Valtrex twice a day for one day can shorten the duration of herpes infection.

Cold Sore Treatment – Topical Denavir

Denavir (Penciclovir 1% cream) is FDA-approved for recurrent cold sores.  Starting treatment within one hour of an outbreak can reduce the time to healing by two days as well as reducing symptoms. Denavir can also decrease the duration of viral shedding. The earlier Denavir is started the better the benefits, but improvement is often still possible when treatment is started even after vesicles develop.

Cold Sore Treatment – Acyclovir

ABREVA (Docosanol 10%) is the only non-prescription medication approved by the FDA that is proven to shorten healing time.  Docosanol is not classified as an antiviral as are all other FDA cold sore medications are. They are classified as antivirals because their activity occurs in virus-infected cells. Docosanol’s mode of action is different. Its mode of action takes place only in healthy cells, where it works on the cell membrane to help inhibit the ability of the virus to fuse with the cell membrane. This makes the virus less likely to enter the cell to begin the process of infection.

Cold Sore Treatment – Suppression Therapy

Suppression therapy, taking medication every day to prevent outbreaks, is not yet FDA-approved. Studies have shown that people who have more than six recurrences or more per year can benefit from taking daily doses of acyclovir, Famvir, or Valtrex to reduce the number of recurrences and decrease viral shedding.If you have any questions or concerns just call us at 630-665-5550

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