A New Medicine Being Tested

By: Chelsea Rogers

More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 live with the unbearably ugly sight of cold sore outbreaks, including myself! Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which can be broken down into two different types; HSV-1 which is transmitted through oral contact and HSV-2 which is transmitted through sexual contact. HSV-1 is more common and is the cause of the painful, fluid filled blisters that form on or around the mouth or nose, also known as cold sores. Everyone is at risk for oral herpes due to our physical contact between others. A simple hand shake from someone who is symptomatic and has touched the outbreak can spread the virus. Activities such as sharing lip balm, kissing or even sharing the same utensils can also spread the infection from person to person. Children often are infected with the virus from contact of an infected older family member. Once infected with HSV the virus is carried out for the rest of the person’s life. Outbreaks can occur for a number of reasons like, too much sun exposure, overload of stress, not enough sleep, and most commonly when cold/flu season is among us. Many who are infected with HSV-1 understand the feeling of embarrassment and discomfort when cold sore outbreaks are present. Signs and symptoms include fluid filled blisters, swelling, pain, tingling, and an intense burning or itching sensation.

High Hopes for a New Cure

Unfortunately, those who are infected are aware that the life span of a cold sore outbreak can last from 1 to 14 days. Two weeks for a cold sore to heal might not seem too long but for people who have experienced the embarrassment understand that those two weeks feel like FOREVER! As of now there is no known cure for this virus. Medications such as Valacyclovir or Famciclovir are common oral medication used to treat cold sores. Abreva is an over the counter treatment cream that treats and relieves the symptoms of cold sores. Studies have shown that these treatment options only decrease the lifespan by a day and a half. But with research and testing a new treatment option called Sitavig is gaining a solid recommendation for cold sore suffers. This single dose treatment is preventing the early stages, the tingling feeling or beginning formation of blister, from becoming a full blown lesion or outbreak. Sitavig is a small tablet that sticks to the gum above the incisor tooth and is applied when you feel the cold sore forming. Unlike Valaciclovir and Famciclovir, Sitavig works immediately once applied because it does not have to be swallowed and absorbed in the bloodstream for it to have an effect. The ground breaking difference with the medication is that the form of delivery will hopefully reduce the virus that is being carried within the body. Which will in time reduce with number of outbreaks.