A study presented at the American Academy of Dermatology's summer meeting, held in New York this week, outlines results from a large trial of Valtrex.
"The findings of these studies are encouraging as they show there may be a convenient and effective way for people with cold sores to treat their outbreaks," says researcher Stephen K. Tyring, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, in a news release.
A one-day oral treatment that shortens the duration of outbreaks has clear advantages over currently available topical treatments, he says.
Cold sores -- also known as fever blisters -- are infectious sores on the lip and outer edge of the mouth, which can last up to a week. While most people are exposed to the virus, it's not known why some people get cold sores while others do not. Stress, a cold, flu, being run-down, even the weather can trigger a cold-sore outbreak. People who have the highly contagious sores are advised not to kiss anyone or touch their sores, until they've completely healed.
In the study, 1,856 patients were treated for a cold sore outbreak. The participants got one of three treatments: twice-daily Valtrex for one day, twice-daily Valtrex for one day followed by a lower-dose of twice-daily Valtrex on the second day, or a placebo for two days.
GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Valtrex, sponsored the study.
Those treated with Valtrex had significantly shorter outbreaks, as well as a shorter duration of pain and discomfort. And the one-day treatment of Valtrex worked just as well as the two-day treatment.