Magazine article Drug Topics

Whatever the Cause, Cold Sores Are in Season

Magazine article Drug Topics

Whatever the Cause, Cold Sores Are in Season

Article excerpt

Winter is here. With it come cold sores triggered by fever, cold or flu, exposure to cold temperatures, and the stress and exhaustion of holiday preparations. Other causes of cold sores include exposure to heat, sun exposure, hormonal changes from menstruation or pregnancy, dental work, shaving, or other trauma to the mouth.

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus, usually herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Once contracted, the virus can cause blisterlike lesions commonly found on and around the mouth. People affected with cold sores may feel a tingling, itching, or burning sensation beneath the skin's surface before the blister appears. An outbreak may be accompanied by flulike symptoms, a low-grade fever, or swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Cold sores are extremely contagious. The virus can be passed at any time during an outbreak from the first tingle until the affected area is completely healed. It is estimated that 80% to 90% of the population has been exposed to and carries the HSV-1 virus. It is also estimated that one in five Americans experience cold sores, typically between two and three outbreaks each year; others may suffer as many as 10 outbreaks per year.

What products will be available as consumers make their way to drugstore aisles in search of relief? Here's a sampling of new products available this year.

SmithKline Beecham, Pittsburgh, is launching Abreva, a nonprescription cold sore medicine developed by Avanir Pharmaceuticals and approved by the Food & Drug Administration for children 12 years of age and older. The firm claims the product shortens healing time and duration of symptoms such as tingling, pain, burning, and itching.

Abreva is an odorless white cream that dries clear. It contains docosanol 10% and comes in a 2-gm tube. For best results, it is recommended that Abreva be used at the first sign of tingle, redness, bump, or itch. Abreva may be applied five times a day until the cold sore is healed. The average retail price is $14.99$16.99. The firm is offering a brochure about cold sores and a coupon via its toll-free number at (877) 709-3539 and its Web site at www.abreva.com.

The Mentholatum Co., Buffalo, is offering a cold sore treatment called Softlips Secret Healer. Brad Lynch, senior marketing manager, told Drug Topics that the product contains 0. …

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