For cold sore sufferers, the survey says...
(NC) For cold sore sufferers, outbreaks are not only painful; they can take a toll on self-image. “When I have a cold sore, I feel embarrassed, isolated and alone,” said Stephanie Dunlop, a cold sore sufferer. But, Stephanie isn't alone as one in five Canadians suffers from herpes simplex labialis (HSL), or cold sores.
Gary Sibbald, MD, a Mississauga dermatologist surveyed a group of individuals who suffer from cold sores, to gain perspective on living with the virus.
“We wanted to understand how often patients were experiencing outbreaks and how they can tell an outbreak is on its way,” said Dr. Sibbald.
The survey found 73 per cent of patients experience one to three cold sores per year. But what triggers these outbreaks? Fifty-nine per cent identified emotional stress as a trigger and 63.5 per cent said tingling and burning were the first signs of an outbreak.
For 50.1 per cent of respondents, the cold sore is not the only effect of the virus. They also experience a negative self-image and an impacted social life. So, who are they speaking to about cold sores and ways to treat them? According to the survey, 58.5 per cent of patients talked to their general physician, while 35.1 per cent talked to family and friends. Nearly 43 per cent prefer to use over-the-counter topical treatments at the first signs of outbreak.
What these patients, family and friends might not be discussing, though, is that current treatments are single-agent antiviral therapies, meaning they solely focus on reducing the healing time of a lesion, rather than address the inflammation issue.
“Typically, outbreaks are caused by the virus and the body's reaction to the virus,” said Dr. Sibbald. “Therefore, it makes sense to combine an antiviral with hydrocortisone.”1
A new treatment is now available in Canada. Xerese (acyclovir 5% and hydrocortisone 1%) Topical Cream works in two ways – to stop the virus from replicating and causing an infection, while also reducing inflammation.
Remember, you're not alone. Stop feeling embarrassed and isolated because of your cold sores and speak to a healthcare professional about available treatment options.
This copyright free content from Valeant Canada LP is intended for the media and can be edited at their discretion.
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Sources: Sibbald, G., Trying, S. Managing Cold Sores: A New Perspective. Derm Times.
Cold Sores Guide. Cold Sores - How to Prevent and Treat Them. http://www.coldsores.ca/articles/art3.html. Accessed July 2013.
Survey: A New Perspective on the Management of Cold Sores. 2013. Sponsored by Valeant Canada.
Hull, C.M., et al. Early treatment of cold sores with topical ME-609 decreases the frequency of ulcerative lesions: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, patient-initiated clinical trial. J Am Acad Dermatol.. Volume 64, Issue 4 , Pages 696.e1-696.e11, April 2011.
Xerese Canadian Product Monograph. Valeant Canada. March 2013.
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