Ever since I was in high school I’ve gotten fever blisters once or twice a year.  I hate them.  The first few days they HURT, and then after that they just look awful.  Since they’re usually right in the corner of my mouth, they crack and bleed easily whenever I open my mouth.  They’re just gross.

About 15 years ago, I mentioned them to my doctor, and I asked if there was anything that would help make them not so bad.  She said that she could prescribe Valtrex since fever blisters are a type of herpes.  Valtrex is an anti-viral medication that is typically prescribed for genital herpes.  I think fever blisters are type I herpes simplex virus and the genital herpes is type II.   I think that’s correct.  I could look it up to verify that, but I won’t.   

Apparently the medication doesn’t care WHERE the virus shows up – it treats it anyway.  It sure worked for me.  It doesn’t eliminate fever blisters, but it keeps them from getting too awful and cuts short the duration.  Valtrex is like a wonder drug.  Ever since I first tried it, anytime I’ve felt that tingling that signals the beginning of a fever blister, I start taking it.

A couple weeks ago, I saw someone else with a fever blister, and I realized that I couldn’t even remember the last time I had one.  It had been at least two or three years.  There must be a mind-body connection for something like that because after thinking about the fact that it had been years since I had one, suddenly last Monday, one started developing – and a couple days after that a second one started!  I’ve never had two at the same time!  I found my old bottle of Valtrex and noticed that the prescription was filled in 2002.  I guess it had been that long since my last fever blister.  I called the doctor to ask her to call in a new prescription – which she did.  My double fever blister is about gone now – definitely on the wane.

So that’s the purpose of this post?  A type of PSA.  I would never have known you could take Valtrex for a fever blister if I hadn’t just happened to have that conversation with my doctor years ago.  If you get them, you might want to look into it.

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14 Responses to “Fever Blisters – I HATE them – and Valtrex”

  1. Liz Says:

    I read the headline and thought that you hated Valtrex too.

    TMS: LOL! I glanced at that headline again last night and thought the same thing! I started to change it, but just didn’t have the time. Oh well – anyone who reads the post will figure it out. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Angela Says:

    Cold sores and fever blisters are indeed the herpes simplex virus. If you have fever blisters then that means that you have oral herpes. You do know that, right?

    Actually, Valtrex is a clinically proven herpes antiviral that works to treat oral herpes OR genital herpes. I noticed that you mention that oral herpes simplex virus is type-1 and that genital herpes simplex virus is type-2. That is not always the case. Try checking out this page that I have put together and see if that help at all, ok?

    I wanted to ask and see if it would be ok to link your blog post to my valtrex comment page, what do you think?

    I think it is so good that you are speaking out about your fever blisters and letting people know how you treat them. I have my google news alert set on sending me blog posts for the word “herpes” which is how I found your blog to begin with.

    If you need anything in the future just holler and I will see what I can do for you!

    Patient Advocate

    TMS: Thanks, Angela. Yes fever blisters are oral herpes. But calling them “fever blisters” sounds much better!

  3. emily Says:

    There are several medications available to treat fever blisters. Some are used topically and others are taken orally. Fever blisters are best treated as early as possible. Starting a medication when prodromal symptoms such as burning, tingling, or redness start gives the best chance of keeping the fever blisters from developing or shortening their course.

    The FDA has approved the use of certain drugs for fever blisters, but some antiviral drugs that are not specifically FDA approved for fever blisters have been shown in clinical studies to be effective.

    The decision to use a medication that is prescribed off-label should be made based on current data and discussed thoroughly with a health-care provider.

    first one: Penciclovir 1% cream (Denavir) is FDA-approved for recurrent fever blisters. It is applied every 2 hours to the site for 4 days

    Second: Acyclovir 5% cream (Zovirax) is also FDA approved for the treatment of recurrent fever blisters. In studies, frequent application of the cream reduced the time to healing by about half a day.

    Third: Fever Blister Treatment – Famciclovir
    Famciclovir (Famvir) taken orally is only FDA approved for oral herpes in people with compromised immune systems.

    Valacyclovir (Valtrex) has been used off-label for the treatment of fever blisters but current studies show that higher doses than usual may be more effective.

    Fever Blister Treatment – Suppression Therapy
    Suppression therapy, taking medication every day to prevent outbreaks, is not yet FDA-approved. Studies have shown that people who have more than 6 recurrences or more per year can benefit from taking acyclovir 400 mg twice daily by reducing the number of recurrences and decreasing viral shedding. Other possibilities are famciclovir 250 mg twice a day or valacyclovir 500 mg once a day.

  4. Ginny Says:

    I’m in my 50s and I’ve had a lifetime of severe fever blisters affecting my lips, chin and nose. Since Zovirax cream was first marketed for genital herpes, I’ve carried it to control outbreaks of my oral herpes. Six months ago blood tests showed my several months-long fatigue and fevers were due to a recent “primary” infection of mononucleosis, another herpes family virus. Since I had mono more than 20 years ago (also diagnosed by a blood test), I didn’t know I could be re-infected, much less acquire what showed as an initial case of mono. I was treated with Valtrex, first two grams daily, then one gram daily as a maintenance dose. I am continuing the maintenance dose, because I’m very happy at the change in my life. No fever blisters, no low grade fevers, no recurrent fatigue.

  5. Sudie Says:

    I have suffered with cold sores on my lips, in my nose, and around my mouth for DECADES–usually beginning the week before my period. Some years back my internist prescribed Zovirax–I took up to 5 a day to PREVENT cold sores. Then Valtrex came out, and he put me on one a day. I went many years without a cold sore or even a hint of one. Then I moved 400 miles away, started getting cold sores again, and my doctor in the new town refuses to prescribe Valtrex, because it’s “off label” and she won’t do off label prescriptions. So once again I’m suffering with horrible, painful cold sores that start 5 days before my period, and by they time they’re completely healed up, the month is up and another one starts to appear. And I’ve tried ALL the topical creams, putting them on at the first sign of a sore, and they do not work. They especially don’t work when a “stealth” blister appears–you know, the ones that sneak up without the telltale tingling warning? I miss my daily Valtrex.

  6. Ayanasil Says:

    Ive had cold sores from as far as I can remember.Hearing about Valtrex and what it can do made me realize that there is actually hope for the disappearance of these ugly sores!

    TMS: Get your doctor to give you a prescription. It is one of the best things I ever did. I used to get cold sores all the time, and now I don’t even remember the last time I had one. If I ever feel that tingle that lets me know one is starting, I start taking Valtrex and the tingling stops after awhile – and the cold sore doesn’t develop or it only becomes a very small insignificant one.

  7. Susan Says:

    I am desperate some relief. I use denovir but it has seemed to stop working. My lips are covered in fever blisters and I just can’t stop stressing which may have caused them in the first place. I just want to lock myself in a room and cry. I have never felt like I look like such a monster…Thanks for the advice.

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  10. veronica Says:

    i have been getting fever blisters since i was in 5th grade and i have done everything out there even down to having bleach on my lips it works by the way but i remember one time i went to bed with nothing and woke up and my mouth was covered i had 7 outbreaks in 12 hours my mom took me to the er and kept me out of school when i was in jr high i hate them wish this virus was never created but at the same time im glad that this is the only virus i get/got. could always be worse keep in mind cold sores hurt and are ugly but there are worse things to have out there in todays world

  11. Don Says:

    I have been giting fever blisters all of my life I am now 25. They absolutly turn me in to a hermet. I get any were from 4-6 a year and they drive me insane. I have just recently started taking Valtrex 500mg for this curent fever blister on about day 3-4 of the blister. In one night of 1000mg it seems that it looks as if it was on about day 10 it takes about two weeks normaly to heel so I just want to thank god for Valtrex.

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  13. Angie Says:

    I have outbreaks for as long as I can remember and this is my first time taking Valtrex. I took 2 pills twice daily for one day but my fever blisters have not gotten better. It has been one week. Should I take a maintenance dose?


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