Acyclovir and Hydrocortisone

Clinical Effects

In a clinical study of people with recurrent cold sores, acyclovir and hydrocortisone reduced the chance of a cold sore getting worse and shortened the time it took for the cold sore to go away. In the study, 58 percent of people given acyclovir and hydrocortisone had cold sores that developed into ulcers, compared to 74 percent of those given a placebo (a cream with no active ingredients).
In addition, those given acyclovir and hydrocortisone were free of their infection (the skin had returned to normal) 1.5 days sooner, on average, than those given a placebo.

When and How to Use Acyclovir and Hydrocortisone

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with acyclovir and hydrocortisone include the following:
  • Acyclovir and hydrocortisone is normally applied to the affected area five times a day for five days. Apply a thin layer, and cover the entire area, including the outer edge of the cold sore.
  • This medication should only be used on the lips or around the mouth. Do not use it inside the eye, mouth, or nose, or on the genitals.
  • This medicine works best if started at the first signs of a cold sore (tingling, redness, itching).
  • Gently wash and dry the area around the cold sore before applying acyclovir and hydrocortisone. Also wash your hands before and after using the cream to help prevent spreading the infection or getting the medicine in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try not to touch or rub your cold sore. This could irritate the skin, making the cold sore worse, or spread the infection to other areas of your mouth or lips.
  • Do not cover your cold sore with a bandage while using acyclovir and hydrocortisone. Doing so may cause irritation.
  • Do not bathe, shower, or swim for at least 30 minutes after applying the cream.
  • For acyclovir and hydrocortisone to work properly, it must be used as prescribed. This medication will not work better or faster if you apply more than prescribed.

Acyclovir and Hydrocortisone Information

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