Can stress cause cold sores to form?

A cold sore breakout can be triggered by a number of factors, including stress1. Some of the most common stressors people deal with on a regular basis include job interviews, major life events (such as weddings), work deadlines, exams, financial troubles, fatigue, and lack of sleep. Unfortunately, though, it is unknown exactly how or why increased stress may cause a cold sore to form.

Other cold sore triggers include:

  • A viral infection1
  • Wind exposure1
  • Sunlight exposure1
  • Hormonal changes1
  • Changes in immune system1


If you tend to get cold sores whenever the level of stress in your life increases, you may want to practice relaxation techniques2. Relaxation can help you maintain your health and well-being by freeing your mind and body from the effects of stress2.

Common relaxation techniques include:

  • Breathing exercises2
  • Meditation2
  • Tai Chi2
  • Yoga2
  • Exercise2


  1. Mayo Clinic (May 15, 2015). Cold Sore [Causes]. Retrieved June 15, 2016 from
  2. Mayo Clinic (April 8, 2014). Stress Management [Relaxation Techniques]. Retrieved June 21, 2016 from
Indication & Important Safety Information
INDICATION Sitavig® (acyclovir), 50mg Muco-Adhesive Buccal Tablet is indicated for the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis (cold sores) in immunocompetent adults.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION 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 (gum) pain (1%), aphthous stomatitis (canker sores) (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. Click here for Full Prescribing Information.