What are the best treatments for herpes labialis?
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There are 3: valacyclovir, acyclovir, and topical penciclovir. Valacyclovir, 2g twice in 1 day taken during the prodromal stage of herpes labialis, reduces the episode duration and time to healing. Acyclovir, 400 mg, taken 5 times a day for 5 days, decreases the pain duration and healing time to loss of crust (strength of recommendation [SOR]: A, based on randomized controlled trials [RCTs]). Topical penciclovir 1%, acyclovir 5%, or docosanol 10% also decrease the duration of pain and healing time (SOR: A, based on RCTs). The best prophylaxis for herpes labialis is oral valacyclovir 500 mg daily; it reduces the frequency and severity of attacks (SOR: B, based on RCT). Sunscreen may be effective in sunlight-induced recurrence (SOR: B, based on 2 small crossover RCTs).
Journal of Family Practice, 56(7) 2007: 576-578.