Photobiomodulation for Preventive Therapy of Recurrent Herpes Labialis: A 2-Year In Vivo Randomized Controlled Study

Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. 2022 Oct;40(10):682-690. doi: 10.1089/photob.2022.0054. Epub 2022 Oct 10.


Objective: The present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the application of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) in the prevention of recurrent herpes labialis (RHL) through a randomized controlled clinical trial. Background data: RHL is a lifelong infection that effects patients' quality of life. In the literature PBMT has shown positive results preventing RHL, decreasing recurrences and severity of lesions. Despite the good results reported, there are still few controlled clinical studies published on the subject. Methods: For this study, 158 volunteers were recruited and were randomly divided into three study groups: Laser 1-1 J/point (L1J): n = 61, Laser 2-2 J/point (L2J): n = 50, and placebo-0 J/point: n = 47. The treatment consisted of a protocol of 15 sessions throughout 6 months and 2 years of follow-up posttreatment. Results: The results showed that L1J presented the most satisfactory results concerning the reduction of the number of lesions per year and less severity of recurrences in the long-term evaluation when compared with L2J. Both Laser Groups (L1J and L2J) were statistically more efficient than placebo in all aspects analyzed. All patients who received laser treatment (L1J and L2J) and presented recurrences had significant improvement in frequency and/or severity of lesions. No patient had side effects from treatment. Conclusions: PBMT can be effective in the reduction of the frequency of recurrences of RHL and in the severity of postirradiation lesions that may appear.

Keywords: herpes labialis; laser; photobiomodulation; prevention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Herpes Labialis* / drug therapy
  • Herpes Labialis* / prevention & control
  • Herpes Labialis* / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Research Design