Artistic representation of red lips.
Herpes & Cold Sores

Medications for Cold Sores – How Well Do They Really Work?

By Lizzie De La Cruz
If there’s anything that will make you want to curl up in bed all day, it’s a cold sore outbreak. You want to get rid of them and you want them gone ASAP. There are so many medications for cold sores that claim to suppress outbreaks fast, but which ones work the best? Here are some of the most popular cold sore treatments — let’s find out which ones actually work. 

What are Cold Sores?  

First of all, let’s talk a little about cold sores themselves. Cold sores, which are sometimes called lip ulcers or fever blisters, are mostly caused by exposure to the Herpes Simplex virus, or HSV-1 (it’s possible, but less likely, to have cold sores caused by HSV-2). This exposure occurs through skin-to-skin contact like kissing or oral sex. You cannot catch herpes from objects like forks, straws, towels, or napkins. 
Once you have caught HSV-1, it can flare up and cause outbreaks in the form of sores around your lips and mouth. Flare-ups can be triggered by any number of things, including mild illness, hormone fluctuations, stress, or outdoor exposure to wind or sun. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cold sores, but there are medications for cold sores that can help. 

Types of Medications for Cold Sores

There are some fantastic medications for cold sores that can help to suppress outbreaks as well as shorten the duration if you do have an outbreak. There are three main ways that cold sores are treated:
  • Antiviral ointments. Antiviral creams or ointments, like Acyclovir, are applied directly to the sore. If applied when you first notice symptoms, they will help to prevent an outbreak. They also decrease healing time when an outbreak does occur. You can get Acyclovir Cream from wisp that is specially compounded at our pharmacy where we ensure quality and effectiveness.
  • Antiviral oral medications. Taking prescription antiviral oral medications for cold sores is the most effective way to treat and prevent outbreaks. They also reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to other people. These types of medications can be used daily to avoid outbreaks, or they can be taken when you notice the signs of an outbreak coming. Some people swear by using over-the-counter oral herbal remedies as soon as they feel a cold sore outbreak coming. They don’t work for everyone, but they may be a good fit for you. Wisp’s All-Natural AV Herbals can be used alongside prescription antivirals. 
It is best to talk with a wisp doctor to find out the best way for you to use antiviral or herbal oral medications for cold sores. Their doctors will be able to give you professional and confidential advice to help you avoid painful and embarrassing outbreaks.  
  • Pain relief medicines. Using pain relief creams like Lidocaine-Amitriptyline helps to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with cold sore outbreaks. These medications numb the pain but do not suppress an outbreak. They are best used together with another treatment. 
Taking medications for cold sores like prescription oral antivirals is the best way to prevent outbreaks and reduce the possibility of virus transmission. Ointments, pain relief medication, and herbal remedies can all be used together with oral antivirals to give you the best possible defense against outbreaks. Talk to a wisp doctor for easy, confidential, and reliable advice and prescription treatment. Wisp believes that you know your body best and our doctors are here to support you.

Try wisp free!

Sign up to receive fun updates, promos and sneak peeks of upcoming products.

The wisp logo

Customer Service

Orders will be processed within 24 hours (Even on weekends)
Non-medical customer service at
9:30a - 6:30p EST M-F
WELL Health logo
If you are interested in a prescription product, wisp will assist in setting up a visit for you with an independent physician who will evaluate whether or not you are an appropriate candidate for the prescription product and if appropriate, may write you a prescription for the product which you can fill at the pharmacy of your choice.
*images do not feature actual patients
Credit Card Logos
© 2023 wisp, Inc. All Rights Reserved.