Physicians sometimes prescribe topical herpes creams or ointments to treat cold sores caused by the HSV-1 virus. While prescription-strength topical herpes medications can be effective, it’s important to know of alternative topical cold sore treatment options.1

Different Ways To Treat Cold Sores

When it comes to treating cold sores caused by the HSV-1 virus, there is wide range of treatment options. To help you better understand the options, we’ve prepared a list of three common cold sore treatment methods that have been shown to be effective alternatives to prescription topical herpes treatments.

Before going forward, however, it’s important to note that the following is for informational purposes only, and should not be mistaken as medical advice. If you’re unsure which cold sore treatment option is right for you, contact your physician or pharmacist before you move forward with any form of treatment.

  1. Natural or “At-Home” Cold Sore Remedies1 – These include:
  • Eating foods that are high in lysine, a protein that helps the body heal and has been shown to help the body fight off cold sores
  • Applying ice at the first feeling of a cold sore outbreak
  • Applying a warm teabag to cold sores for an extended period of time
  1. Over-the-Counter Cold Sore Creams – Pharmacies, grocery stores and other major retailers stock a wide variety of Over-The-Counter cold sore creams and ointments. Though some OTC cold sore treatments claim to speed up healing time, the majority of these products simply claim to help minimize discomfort caused by cold sores, and to reduce the appearance of cold sores.
  2. Single-Dose Prescription Tablets – The first and only prescription antiviral medication to be applied just once at the first signs of a cold sore outbreak, Sitavig® (acyclovir), 50mg Muco-Adhesive Buccal Tablet is a breakthrough spot treatment for cold sore outbreaks

Unlike prescription and OTC topical cold sore medications, which must be taken or applied frequently throughout a cold sore outbreak, prescription Sitavig is applied just once when you first notice a cold sore forming like it. A clinical trial, Sitavig was shown to reduce cold sore duration, increase the amount of time between cold sore outbreaks and, in some cases, even stop cold sores before they develop.

If you’re a frequent cold sore sufferer, ask your physician if prescription Sitavig is right for you. If your doctor does prescribe you Sitavig, you can save on your prescription by downloading and printing off our Patient Access Card.


1- – Cold Sores Home Treatment


Sitavig should not be used in patients with known hypersensitivity to acyclovir, milk protein concentrate, or other components of the product.

Sitavig has not been studied in pregnant women or in immunocompromised patients and no interaction studies have been performed. Sitavig’s safety and efficacy have not been established in pediatric patients.

Sitavig is a Pregnancy Category B product; therefore it should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk to the fetus. It is not known if Sitavig is excreted in breast milk; however, systemic absorption is minimal.

In a controlled clinical trial, Sitavig’s most common side effects (greater than or equal to 1%) were: headache (3%), dizziness (1%), lethargy (1%), gingival pain (1%), aphthous stomatitis (1%), application site pain (1%), application site irritation (1%), erythema (1%) and rash (1%). In the same trial these side effects ranged from 0%-3% for placebo.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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