Treatment of herpes simplex labialis

Herpes. 2002 Dec;9(3):64-9.


Recurrent herpes simplex labialis is associated with mild morbidity, but remains a significant problem for people with frequent and/or severe recurrences. Both topical and peroral episodic antiviral treatments of recurrences are modestly effective at reducing the duration of signs and symptoms. Recent studies with high-dose, short-course valaciclovir suggest that maximum benefit from antiviral therapy may be achieved with as little as 1 day of treatment. Topical steroids may be useful in combination with an antiviral agent, but more needs to be learnt about the appropriate strength and duration of steroid therapy before a general recommendation can be made. Selected subgroups of patients are candidates for prophylactic treatment with perorally administered nucleoside antiviral agents. Prophylaxis with topical agents is not effective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Herpes Labialis / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Steroids


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Steroids