Are cold sores permanent? In short: no.

However, the herpes virus, HSV-1, remains in your body for the remainder of your life once you’ve been infected. Between cold sore outbreaks, the HSV-1 virus remains dormant in your nerve cells until something triggers it to come out again.1 Once the virus becomes “awake,” it then moves to the surface of your skin, most often appearing around your mouth.

How will I know if I’m getting a cold sore?

Your body will give you warning signs when a cold sore is on its way. The infected area will likely feel warm and tingly, and you may even feel a small bump developing.2 If you begin treatment during this early stage, you may be able to limit the severity of the outbreak.

Common cold sore triggers are sun exposure, stress, becoming ill, or trauma to the mouth.3 These can all result in the awakening of the HSV-1 virus, triggering it to move to the surface of the skin.

Some people are able to learn their personal cold sore triggers, and can avoid outbreaks simply by avoiding things that bring on infections. Those who haven’t mastered their personal triggers, however, often experience cold sores quite frequently.

Can cold sores be prevented?

Unlike any other prescription or over-the-counter cold sore medication on the market, Sitavig® (acyclovir), 50mg Muco-Adhesive Buccal Tablet has been clinically proven to help stop some cold sores from forming when applied at the first sign of an outbreak. If you’re the type of person who knows when a cold sore is coming on, ask your doctor if prescription Sitavig is right for you. Sitavig may be able to help you prevent some future cold sores!

1 – – Cold Sores Topic Overview

2 – – Cold Sores Symptoms

3 – – Cold Sores Basic Causes


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.

View Full Prescribing Information.