Available by prescription only, Xerese is a medication used for the treatment of cold sores. It comes in the form of a cream that is applied to the affected area five times a day for five days. Possible side effects include redness and dry or flaky skin. Although it can speed up the healing time of a cold sore, it cannot prevent future cold sores.
Xerese is made by Contract Pharmaceuticals Limited for Meda Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does It Work?
As mentioned, Xerese is a combination of acyclovir and hydrocortisone. Acyclovir is an antiviral medication. It prevents the virus that causes cold sores (herpes simplex virus, or HSV) from multiplying. Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid medication. It reduces inflammation, which can help relieve pain, swelling, redness, and itching.
Unlike most viruses, HSV is never completely removed from the body. Instead, it remains inactive in certain nerve cells, waiting to become active again. This is the reason cold sores come back. Xerese is not a cure for cold sores. It also will not prevent future outbreaks.
In a clinical study of people with recurrent cold sores, Xerese reduced the chance of a cold sore getting worse and shortened the time it took for the cold sore to go away. In the study, 58 percent of people given Xerese had cold sores that developed into ulcers, compared to 74 percent of those given a placebo (a cream with no active ingredients). In addition, those given Xerese were free of their infection (the skin had returned to normal) 1.5 days sooner, on average, than those given a placebo.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Xerese [package insert]. Bridgewater, NJ: Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC;2014 January.
Xerese Web site. Available at: http://xerese.com. Accessed May 19, 2011.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob. Accessed May 20, 2011.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed May 20, 2011.
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