Herpes Home > Xerese

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.

What Is Xerese?

Xerese™ (acyclovir and hydrocortisone) is a prescription medication approved to treat cold sores. It is a combination of two medicines: acyclovir and hydrocortisone. Xerese comes in the form of a cream.
(Click Xerese Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Xerese?

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.

Clinical Effects

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:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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