Acyclovir, known as the brand name Xerese, is an efficacious medication used to treat herpes labialis. Known commonly as cold sores or fever blisters, this form of the herpes virus is successfully treated with Acyclovir as a combination cream, alongside hydrocortisone. Marketed by Coria Laboratories, the patent for Xerese expires on January 24, 2017.
The often dormant herpes simplex virus causes the painful and unsightly cold sores, with many patients experiencing recurrent cases. Alongside hydrocortisone, acyclovir is indicated for the early treatment of recurrent herpes labialis, and it effectively reduces the likelihood of ulcerative cold sores. In addition, this formidable cream has proven to shorten the healing time of lesions in both adults and adolescents age twelve and older.
With a prevalence of HSV-1 in the United States estimated at 57.7 percent for people between ages 14 and 29 years old, recurrent herpes lesions affect roughly 32.9 percent of the US population. Acyclovir is used for the treatment of other forms of the HSV virus as well, such as varicella (chickenpox), herpes zoster (shingles), and first-time or repeat outbreaks of genital herpes. In the class of drugs deemed antivirals, acyclovir is a synthetic nucleoside analogue, and it works by halting the spread of the herpes virus in the body. Some patients may also receive acyclovir to treat eczema herpeticum, which is an infection on the skin caused by the herpes virus, or to treat a condition called oral hairy leukoplakia, which causes hairy white or gray colored patches on the inside of the cheek or tongue.
Clinical studies of Xerese (acyclovir and hydrocortisone cream) have been favorable. One such study found that for patients with recurrent cold sores who were dosed with Xerese had a reduced chance of the cold sore getting worse, and it also shortened the time it took for the cold sore to go away. In this study, 58 percent of the people who were administered with Xerese had cold sores that developed into ulcers, compared to 74 percent of the patients who were given a placebo cream. Also, the patients who were given Xerese were infection free 1.5 days sooner than the group who had been given the placebo cream, which had no active ingredients. The recommended dosage is to apply acyclovir and hydrocortisone cream 5 times a day for 5 days, with the dosage being the same for adults and children over age 12. Therapy with this cream should commence as soon as the first signs and symptoms of cold sores appear. Adverse effects are uncommon, with very few patients experiencing side effects such as slight dryness, flaking or burning at the application site.
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