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A new treatment option could make your life easier.

Holly Dawsey
October 02, 2014

Some people call them cold sores, some call them fever blisters. But here's one thing everyone can agree on: They suck. And, not to mention, they always seem to appear at the worst times (say, right before a wedding or a big interview).

These painful—and unflattering—sores are the result of the herpes simplex virus, known as HSV type 1. And according to the National Institutes of Health, 90% of adults carry the HSV-1 virus by age 50.

While some people may never show any symptoms (how unfair, right?), most will have periodic outbreaks (aka lesions) every few months or once a year. “These recurrences are commonly triggered by menstruation, emotional stress, temperature changes, and fever,” explains Christopher Downing, MD, a dermatologist and clinical investigator at the Center for Clinical Studies in Houston, Texas.

Until recently, the treatment of HSV-1 lesions has been limited to two methods: OTC topical anesthetics to relieve burning and itching, or prescription antiviral medications. The topical remedies need to be applied several times per day. But late this summer, a new cold sore Rx hit the market, Sitavig, which offers a foolproof delivery system and fast results.

How does it work? A tiny (odorless and tasteless) adhesive tablet is applied to the inside of the lip once per episode and dissolves within 8 hours. “The tablet delivers a high concentration of antiviral medication to the labial mucosa [the inner lining of the lips] to destroy the virus and heal the affected area much faster than a pill can,” says Dr. Downing, who participated in the drug's clinical trials. Studies have shown that it can also extend the time between recurrences. Win-win!

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