Over the Counter Cold Sore Medicines: A Walkthrough

October 10, 2009

Although there are a handful of prescription cold sore medicines that have flooded the market today, it is critical that you have an idea of the common over the counter cold sore medicines for that would really be handy in case of urgency.

This article educates you about the various types of over the counter cold sore medicines that are available. Additionally it details you about the pros and cons of using over the counter cold sore medications in brief.

Types of Over the Counter Cold Sore Medications

Basically, there are three types of over the counter cold sore medicines.

Lenitive Agents: Lipreve, Denavir, Viraderm and Viroxyn are the popular over the counter cold sore medicines. While Lipreve is taken orally, the others are topical creams that are meant for external use and are mainly used as alleviating agents that quicken the recovery rather than curing agents. Blends of Docosanol are even available in the form of over the counter cold sore medicines and are widely used for speedy recovery of cold sores. Banadyne-3 is used as both an alleviatory and a benumbing agent for combating cold sores.

Benumbing Agents: Banadyne-3, Orajel Multi-Action Medicine Gel, Lysine, Viradent Gel, Phenol, zinc, tannic acid, Campho-phenizue and Zilactin Cold Sore Gel are the OTC drugs that are in vogue today. They offer a numb feeling around the infected areas and aim at alleviating the symptoms and terminating the growth of HSV type 1.

Moisturizing Agents/ Sunscreen Shields: Herpetrol, Herpecin-L, Burt’s Bees Sunscreen and Aberva are the commonly used over the counter cold sore medicines that help in softening the skin and protecting the skin from cracks and bleeds. Lip balms that are sunscreens and contain zinc oxide also help alleviate the symptoms of cold sores thereby expediting the recovery.

Miscellaneous Over the Counter Drugs for Cold Sores

Blistex and Carmex are generally used as lip balms for alleviating the irritation and keep the skin soft in cold sores. Ointments containing benzocaine or benzyl alcohol are used for relieving the pain. Zilactin, Anbesol, Tylenol and Ibrufen are the most common anesthetics used to assuage the inflammation. Antibiotic ointments like Polysporin and sunscreens are used in case of spreading sores.

The Pros

The over the counter cold sore medicines are powerful in reducing the inflammation and irritation caused by the fever blisters though they are not effective in wiping the viruses from the system.


Over the counter cold sore medicines are just alleviatory or lenitive. They aim at bringing down the symptoms and controlling further replication of the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1. However none of them guarantee to eject the viruses completely out of the system.

OTC drugs, if taken without proper advice of medical practitioners can have unexpected side effects.