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People who get cold sores may benefit from acyclovir and hydrocortisone. When used at the first sign of a cold sore, this prescription skin cream has been shown to reduce the time it takes for the cold sore to heal. It works by reducing inflammation and preventing the herpes simplex virus from multiplying. Common side effects include dry or flaky skin.

What Is Acyclovir and Hydrocortisone?

Acyclovir and hydrocortisone (Xerese™) is a prescription medication approved to treat cold sores. As the name implies, it is a combination of two medicines: acyclovir and hydrocortisone. This medication comes in the form of a cream.
(Click What Is Acyclovir and Hydrocortisone Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, acyclovir and hydrocortisone may cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the drug will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well.
If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious reactions are less common.
The most common side effects of this medication include skin reactions, such as:
  • Dry or flaky skin
  • A burning or tingling sensation
  • Redness.
(Click Acyclovir and Hydrocortisone Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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