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OTC Herpes Medication

Harvard Health Publications
Copyright 2006 Harvard Health Publications

Question:

Is there an over-the-counter medication for herpes?

Answer:

The herpes viruses can cause a number of different diseases ranging from cold sores to meningitis. There are a number of different types of herpesvirus. All share the ability to live in human nerve tissue for long periods of time. The most common is herpes simplex type 1 (also known as HSV-1), the virus that causes cold sores. There are a number of different over-the-counter medications available, but they do not work that well. The newest is called Abreva (also known as docosanol). When used, it looks like it reduces the duration of symptoms by about one day. There are no over-the-counter drugs available for the other herpes infections, including genital herpes, shingles and chickenpox.


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Harvard Health Publications Source: from the Harvard Health Publications Family Health Guide, Copyright © 2007 by President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.

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