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Control cold sore outbreaks this summer

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
cold sores, fever blisters, herpes simplex, treatment, Abreva

Summer is here and it will be accompanied by an upsurge in cold sores because outbreaks are stimulated by increased temperatures and sunburns Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) ND is usually associated with infections of the lips, mouth, and face. It is transmitted by contact with infected saliva. Between outbreaks, the virus lies dormant in the skin. A number of over-the-counter products are available for treatment; however, a number of them have not proven to be effective.

GSK conducted a survey, which asked 1,000 American adults, ages 18 and older about how closely they pay attention to the ingredients in “look-alike” treatments. It found that 66% of Americans believe that when “look-alike treatments” have the same or similar packaging as the name-brand treatment, that it is likely that they have the same ingredients. Furthermore, 93% of Americans admit to purchasing the “look-alike treatments” in the past solely because they are less expensive. “All of these “look-alike” cold sore treatments have different ingredients from the Abreva brand they are trying to imitate,” noted Pam Marquess, Pharm.D, pharmacist, pharmacy chain owner, and GSK spokesperson. She added, “Even though two items on the shelf may have claims and packaging similar to Abreva, the inside is a different story. Comparing ingredients is critical to selecting a proper cold sore treatment.”

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GSK notes that Abreva contains 10% docosanol. Several “look-alike” cold sore treatments tout healing claims; however, they contain the ingredient benzalkonium chloride instead of docosonal. The FDA recently issued a warning letter to a marketer and distributor of a product containing benzalkonium chloride that is making the claim on its product’s label that it heals cold sores. The FDA found that the active ingredient, benzalkonium chloride, is not indicated as a cold sore treatment and may not make cold sore healing claims because there is no scientific evidence to support claims that it heals cold sores. “Without comparing labels and ingredients, you may think the “look-alike” treatment will heal your cold sore just like Abreva, but benzalkonium chloride does not heal cold sores,” said Marquess.

“Hopefully the findings of this survey will compel people looking for a cold sore healing treatment to compare the ingredients between Abreva and ‘look-alike’ products for their own protection,” said Lisa Maxwell-Anekwe, senior brand manager, Abreva. She added, “For the safe and effective treatment of cold sores, it’s important to take those few extra seconds and compare more than price, but compare ingredients. Make sure you are spending your hard-earned money on what really works.” Marquess added, “If you’re in doubt about what cold sore treatment to look for, ask your pharmacist if both Abreva and “look-alike” products have the same active ingredients. This will allow you to make an educated purchasing decision based on facts and not packaging or cost. If you want to heal your cold sore fast, it’s better to spend more on something that really works than spend a little on something that doesn’t. The other great thing about Abreva is that it also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.”

For more information about Abreva, click on this link.