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13.10.3 Antiviral preparations


1st choice

No treatment

Aciclovir cream 5%

(encourage OTC purchase)

Prescribing Notes

  • Topical antiviral preparations should not be routinely prescribed for cold sores. They only reduce mean duration of an episode by less than a day, and need to be initiated at the onset of symptoms before vesicles appear
  • Topical aciclovir is available over-the-counter and can be used by people who find it helpful
  • Systemic treatment is necessary for buccal or vaginal infections and for herpes zoster (shingles)
  • Consider oral antiviral treatment for people with persistent, severe or prolonged episodes of recurrent labial herpes simplex infections or those who are immunocompromised