A new treatment option could make your life easier.

By Holly Dawsey
October 02, 2014
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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!