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Medications for Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Labialis)

What is Cold Sores:  A cold sore is a fluid-filled blister caused by infection by herpes simplex virus. They usually appear at the edge of the lips.

Medications to treat Cold Sores

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rx / OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol Reviews Rating Popularity
Valtrex B N 129 reviews
9.0

Generic name: valacyclovir systemic

Drug class: purine nucleosides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
valacyclovir B N 180 reviews
9.0

Generic name: valacyclovir systemic

Brand name:  Valtrex

Drug class: purine nucleosides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
acyclovir B N 16 reviews
9.0

Generic name: acyclovir systemic

Brand names:  Sitavig, Zovirax

Drug class: purine nucleosides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
Denavir B N 33 reviews
9.0

Generic name: penciclovir topical

Drug class: topical antivirals

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
Zovirax Cream B N 12 reviews
7.0

Generic name: acyclovir topical

Drug class: topical antivirals

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

 
Zovirax Ointment B N 4 reviews
9.0

Generic name: acyclovir topical

Drug class: topical antivirals

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
acyclovir B N 22 reviews
8.0

Generic name: acyclovir topical

Brand names:  Zovirax Cream, Zovirax Ointment

Drug class: topical antivirals

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
Famvir B N 7 reviews
8.0

Generic name: famciclovir systemic

Drug class: purine nucleosides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
famciclovir B N 25 reviews
8.0

Generic name: famciclovir systemic

Brand name:  Famvir

Drug class: purine nucleosides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
Sitavig B N 8 reviews
8.0

Generic name: acyclovir systemic

Drug class: purine nucleosides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

 
Zovirax B N Add review Rate

Generic name: acyclovir systemic

Drug class: purine nucleosides

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
acyclovir / hydrocortisone B N 1 review
10

Generic name: acyclovir / hydrocortisone topical

Brand name:  Xerese

Drug class: topical steroids with anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts

 
benzocaine C N 3 reviews
9.0

Generic name: benzocaine topical

Brand names:  Retre-Gel, Kank-a, Orabase

Drug class: topical anesthetics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
Retre-Gel C N 1 review
10

Generic name: benzocaine topical

Drug class: topical anesthetics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

 
Xerese B N Add review Rate

Generic name: acyclovir / hydrocortisone topical

Drug class: topical steroids with anti-infectives

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

 
penciclovir B N 36 reviews
9.0

Generic name: penciclovir topical

Brand name:  Denavir

Drug class: topical antivirals

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

 
Kank-a C N Add review Rate

Generic name: benzocaine topical

Drug class: topical anesthetics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

 
Orabase C N Add review Rate

Generic name: benzocaine topical

Drug class: topical anesthetics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

 
Pontocaine C N Add review Rate

Generic name: tetracaine topical

Drug class: topical anesthetics

For consumers: interactions, side effects

 
tetracaine C N 1 review
10

Generic name: tetracaine topical

Brand name:  Pontocaine

Drug class: topical anesthetics

For consumers: interactions, side effects

 
benzalkonium chloride / benzocaine N N Add review Rate

Generic name: benzalkonium chloride / benzocaine topical

Drug class: mouth and throat products

For consumers: interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts

 
benzyl alcohol B N Add review Rate

Generic name: benzyl alcohol topical

Drug class: topical anti-infectives

For consumers: side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph

 

Alternative treatments for Cold Sores

The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for Cold Sores. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Cold Sores.

Legend

Off Label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
Prescription Only / Over the Counter
Rx Prescription Only
OTC Over the Counter
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter
Pregnancy
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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