Patient Comments: Herpes Simplex Infections (Cold Sores) - Treatments

What treatment has been effective for your cold sores?

A Doctor's View on Cold Sore Treatment

Read the Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Treatment of cold sores may include the use of antiviral drugs, over-the-counter products, and home remedies. Prescription antiviral medications include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. Abreva is available over the counter and can reduce the duration of an outbreak. Natural measures for cold sore relief include avoiding spicy or acidic foods and applying ice to the affected area. Read the entire Doctor's View

Comment from: RichK, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 12

I have been getting cold sores since 8th grade, some 47 years ago, so I have a lot of experience treating this tenacious and insidious virus. The two keys are prevention and immediate action. I take (2) Valacyclovir (Valtrex) 500MG tablets twice a day along with at least 500MG of Lysine. (I have done this for years and unfortunately, it does not eliminate the virus forever.) I also use a 15 SPF sunscreen lip balm every time I go out during daylight. As soon as I feel the tingle of a new outbreak, I immediately apply Abreva, which you can buy over the counter, or Denavir (penciclovir), which requires a prescription, every two hours. I always have a tube in my pocket because if I catch it in the first few minutes, I am usually successful in preventing a full scale outbreak. If I feel that I have not caught it in time, I bring out the big guns and take 2,000MG (2 grams) of Valtrex and another 2 grams twelve hours later. Once an eruption has occurred, it is usually too late and the above treatments will reduce the duration, but not by much. Hope this helps.

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Comment from: ACE, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 12

I have had cold sores for 11 years now. I find that L-lysine vitamins either 1,000mg or 500mg are the most effective treatment when you can't always afford to go to the doctor or get a prescription. I try to take at least one tablet which is 1,000mg every day and usually that prevents an outbreak. If I do get an outbreak I will take 4 to 5 tablets a day and it usually clears up 80 percent faster. There is also an over the counter L-lysine lip ointment that works wonders in preventing and healing this annoying virus. I have dealt with this for almost 12 years now and I only take the vitamins and never have to get the prescription medications. I suggest this to anyone that is dealing with an outbreak or just as a preventative measure. You can get the vitamins at any store. I prefer the GNC 1,000mg L-Lysine vitamins and the Lip Ointment.

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Comment from: beeper37, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 29

Yesterday I realized that I felt like I was getting a cold sore on my lip. I woke up this morning and I had four rather large cold sores. I went to the doctor and he told me it was stress causing the cold sores. I was given Zovirax and I hope it works. It looks awful and I do not even want to leave the house. How long do they ask to go away. They are painful for sure. Was supposed to go out tonight but not looking like this.

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Published: February 17

I have been getting cold sores since I was about 20. I do not get them very often sometimes i can go a year without one and sometimes I get a few throughout the year. I haven't had any luck with any of the medical treatments available, however I have found that applying ice to the first sign of the blister will reduce the swelling that occurs. Coupling regular applications of ice to the blister with drinking as much water as I can stomach greatly reduces the size of the blister that ensues to a barely noticeable size and reduces the duration of them to approx. 5 days. Prior to this regiment I would use otc medications this only proved to increase the amount of time the blister would be evident as well as increase the noticeability of the blister. I found that doing nothing at all has worked better than using the topical creams one can get otc. I am currently experiencing having a sore on my upper lip I have been applying ice and drinking as much water as possible and nobody at work or home has asked that dreaded question, ''what's that on your lip?'' I can barely noticed it myself if it weren't for that I can feel it there.

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Comment from: jeanne, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 21

Simplex F by Standard Process has been the best treatment I have ever used for cold sores. Take 2 at the first 'tingle' and one every hour until the sensation dissipates or the blister shrinks. If you catch it right away, the blister never appears. If you start after the blister appears, it is dry in 2 days. Use a good healing lip balm after (containing aloe) and your lips are as good as new in a week. I heard about this from others after trying everything listed in this article, I thought it couldn't hurt. The results are amazing!

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Comment from: BeeGee, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I am an 82 yr. old woman and had never had a cold sore in my whole life until I had the Shingle vaccine last Dec. 2012, since then I have had three outbreaks. I do take valacyclovir prescribed by my physician. This medication is also given to people who have shingles. I do believe that my problem was caused by the shingles vaccine.

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