Randomized clinical study comparing Compeed cold sore patch to acyclovir cream 5% in the treatment of herpes simplex labialis

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2008 Nov;22(10):1184-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2008.02761.x. Epub 2008 May 6.


Background: Hydrocolloid technology has been proven effective in treating dermal wounds. A previous study showed that a newly developed thin hydrocolloid patch [Compeed cold sore patch (CSP)] provided multiple wound-healing benefits across all stages of a herpes simplex labialis (HSL) outbreak.

Methods: An assessment of CSP efficacy and safety was conducted in an international, multicentre, assessor-blinded study, which enrolled 728 subjects with a history of recurrent HSL. Of these, 351 experienced an HSL outbreak and were randomized to use CSP (n = 179) or acyclovir cream 5% (n = 172) at the onset of symptoms until the lesion healed, for a maximum of 10 days. The primary end point was the subject's global assessment of therapy (SGAT; 0-10 scale; 0 = no response, 10 = excellent response). Multiple secondary end points included clinician-assessed healing time and subject assessment of lesion protection, noticeability and social embarrassment.

Results: CSP and acyclovir were highly effective (mean SGAT = 7.89 and 8.00, respectively), with no significant difference observed (P = 0.65). The difference in healing times between products was not significant (median, 7.57 days with CSP vs. 7.03 days with acyclovir, P = 0.37). Both treatments were well tolerated.

Conclusion: CSP using hydrocolloid technology provides an efficacious and safe alternative to topical antivirals in treating HSL as a wound while affording additional immediate benefits of wound protection, discretion and relief of social embarrassment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / administration & dosage*
  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bandages, Hydrocolloid*
  • Female
  • Herpes Labialis / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Acyclovir