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Skin Care and Diseases

Cold sores



Which cream is considered more effective in shortening the healing time of cold sores on the lips--Denavir or Abreva?


Topical antiviral agents are relatively ineffective in shortening the course of herpes labialis.  Studies in the past show that they may shorten the duration of this infectious process by hours, not days.  Their one redeeming characteristic is that they lower viral shedding so that you are less likely to shed the virus from the lesions to other parts of your body, such as your eye or genitalia.  You should consult your family physician or board certified dermatologist for a lengthy explanation; but I personally do not use these except in certain indicated situations.  It is much more effective for you to take oral antivirals such as Valacyclovir or Famcyclovir or simple Acyclovir.


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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati