Recent Approval of Xerese in Canada: 5% Acyclovir and 1% Hydrocortisone Topical Cream in the Treatment of Herpes Labialis

Harrison P. Nguyen, BA; Kelly R. Stiegel, BS; Christopher Downing, MD; Stephen K. Tyring, MD, PhD, MBA


Skin Therapy Letter. 2014;19(3) 

In This Article

Clinical Observations

When taken daily (along with topical sunscreens), oral acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir are better at preventing herpes labialis than topical therapies are at treating outbreaks; however, it is the authors' experience over the past 5 years that when used appropriately, ACHC is the superior topical therapy. Because the signs and symptoms of herpes labialis are attributable to both viral and inflammatory mechanisms, prescription topicals exerting only antiviral or anti-inflammatory activities have limited efficacy. Most over-the-counter therapies fail to target underlying pathogenic mechanisms (i.e., viral and inflammatory) and, thus, have little to no efficacy. While the optimal strategy is to prevent herpes labialis outbreaks via reduction of sun exposure, as well as through the use of sunscreen and oral anti-viral agents (especially in individuals experiencing frequent outbreaks), we recommend to our patients that they fill their prescriptions for ACHC as soon as possible and keep the cream at home, at work, and/or carry it with them while on vacation. At the onset of prodromal symptoms, therapy should be initiated immediately and no later than the appearance of the first sign of a recurrence.