Background: The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of zinc on recurrent herpes labialis.
Materials/methods: Twenty patients (12 females; median age 26.6 years) with a history of recurrent herpes labialis >6 episodes each year were treated with systemic zinc sulphate 22.5 mg twice daily for the months of February, March, September and October. All patients were followed for 12 months.
Results: Herpetic lesions reduced to <4 episodes (average 3) for the 12 months and the duration was <7 days for each episode (average 5.7).
Conclusions: Systemic zinc sulphate appeared to reduce both the number of episodes and the time to recovery of herpes labialis.