Herpes Home > Cold Sore Medicine

There is only one over-the-counter medicine available that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of cold sores. However, a number of prescription medications can be used to ease the pain and discomfort that often accompanies this type of sore. These prescription drugs for cold sores come in a variety of forms, including oral tablets, ointments, and creams. Lysine may also be effective in preventing and treating cold sores.


Medications for Cold Sores: An Overview

A variety of cold sore medicines are available, including prescription medications, non-prescription medications, and supplements.

Prescription Cold Sore Drugs

All of the prescription medications that are approved to treat cold sores belong to a group of medications known as antivirals. Antivirals can be effective in speeding up healing and decreasing the pain and discomfort associated with cold sores.
Topical prescription medicines for cold sores (creams or ointments that are applied directly to the cold sore) include:
Oral prescription medications (tablets that are taken by mouth) include:
All of these medicines work best if used at the first sign of a cold sore (symptoms often include tingling, itching, burning, or redness).
It is important to understand that treatment with these medicines does not prevent future outbreaks. They are also not approved for use in children (except Zovirax cream and Denavir cream, which can be used in children 12 years of age and older).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation

Topics & Medications


Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2018 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.