Cold Sore Treatment

Get prescription-strength treatment after an online consultation with our medical team. We can treat a current outbreak or give you daily preventative medicine. If this is your first outbreak, please see a doctor in person.

Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM,
Sat,Sun 8AM-12PM PST

Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM    Sat,Sun 8AM-12PM PST

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HOW WE HELP

Cold sores are a pain. Our doctors can help.

Lemonaid is an online doctor’s office. We’re based in San Francisco but we help patients across America. We’re a convenient way to get the healthcare you need.

So long as this isn’t your first cold sore, our doctors can give you a prescription for an effective anti-viral cold sore treatment. With our 2-hour turnaround during business hours you can pick up your medicines at the pharmacy before you know it.

What our patients are saying

2 TYPES OF TREATMENT

There are 2 different reasons to take cold sore medicines, an immediate outbreak or daily prevention

If you’ve got an outbreak right now you’ll want treatment that helps with your immediate symptoms. These cold sore treatments last from 1 to 5 days.

If you don’t have an outbreak now but want to prevent future outbreaks, you’d take a daily preventative treatment.

 

Medicine for an immediate outbreak

If you’ve got a cold sore outbreak right now then prescription-strength cold sore medicine can reduce how long your cold sore outbreak lasts and you need to select between the 3 anti-viral medicines we prescribe.

All 3 are equally effective but are different in terms of how long you take them. See the table below.

 
 

# pills at a time

how often

# of days

cost of medicine

Acyclovir 400 mg
generic of Zovirax

1 pill

3 times a day

5 days

$10
with a GoodRx coupon*

Valacyclovir 1g
generic of Valtrex

2 pills

2 times a day

1 day

$15
with a GoodRx coupon*

Famciclovir 500 mg
generic of Famvir

3 pills

1 time

$15
with a GoodRx coupon*

* You can only use GoodRx coupons at some pharmacies. See GoodRx.com for details.

Daily preventative treatment (‘suppression’)

If you get a lot of cold sores then daily preventative/’suppression’ cold sore treatment can reduce how frequently you get them and you need to select between the 2 anti-viral medicines we prescribe. Daily treatment can also reduce how long a cold sore lasts if you do end up getting one.

Preventative cold sore treatment only works if you take the medicine every day on an ongoing basis.

Both medicines are equally effective but are different in terms of how many times a day you take them. See the table below.

 
 

# pills at a time

how often

# of days

cost of medicine

Acyclovir 400 mg
generic of Zovirax

1 pill

2 times a day

Take every day

$50 / 3 month course with a GoodRx coupon*

Valacyclovir 500 mg
generic of Valtrex

1 pill

1 time a day

Take every day

$40-$70 / 3 month course with a GoodRx coupon*

* You can only use GoodRx coupons at some pharmacies. See GoodRx.com for details.

Guaranteed Doctor Response

2 HOURS

during business hours

UP TO 24 HOURS

outside business hours

HOW COLD SORE VISITS WORK

Cold sore visits are easy with Lemonaid

Select the specific cold sore medicine you want

Select between daily preventative treatment or treatment you take when you have an outbreak. Select between 2 preventative treatments. Select between 3 outbreak treatments.

Answer our health questions

Answer our questions that cover your history of cold sores, your medical history, any medicines you’re taking and any cold sore medicine you’ve tried before.

Choose your pharmacy

Choose any pharmacy in your state where you want to pick-up your cold sore medicines. If you don’t have insurance, then make sure you select a pharmacy that accepts GoodRx coupons.

Pay visit fee

Pay the visit fee to us. At the pharmacy, you’ll pay for the cost of your cold sore medicine. Use your insurance if it covers your cold sore medicines.

Doctor review

You’ll immediately have a short video consultation with a member of our medical team. If you’re in IL, NY, PA, WA, the medical team will respond within 2 hrs. There's no need to do a video chat.

Go to pharmacy to pick up medicines

Wait for one of our doctors or nurse practitioners to message you that we’ve given you a cold sore prescription. Then go to the pharmacy to pick up and pay for it. Make sure you read the treatment plan we send you before using the medicines.

Popular Pharmacies

ABOUT COLD SORES

Cold sores appear on and around your lips, not in your mouth

Cold sores appear on and around your lips. Cold sores do not occur in your mouth.

The herpes simplex virus type 1 is the most common cause of cold sores. A huge number of people carry the virus, but only some people get cold sores. There isn’t a way to get rid of the virus that causes the cold sores.

Cold sores typically last around a week. Your first cold sore outbreak may last 2 weeks. You may feel a tingling before the cold sore appears. A cold sore looks different on different people. Typically there’s some kind of cold sore blister.

Some people get a cold sore every couple of years. Other people get a cold sore once a month.

NO INSURANCE?

Find the lowest price on cold sore medicines

TREATMENT & RISKS

Make sure you understand the risks of using our cold sore service

Our doctors look at the answers you give to our health questions to work out if you have cold sores. We’ll also look at your medical history to work out if it’s safe and appropriate to give you a prescription without meeting you in person.

Sometimes we’ll make the wrong call

We use evidence-based guidelines to decide when it’s safe to give you a cold sore prescription, but there’s 2 ways we can get it wrong. There’s a chance we’ll give you a prescription when you don’t actually have cold sores. If this happens you’ll take a medicine you don’t need. Alternatively, we may think you don’t have cold sores when actually you do. If this happens we’ll mistakenly decline to give you a medicine you should take.

We’re more likely to make the wrong diagnosis if this is your first cold sore outbreak. That’s why you shouldn’t use Lemonaid if this is your very first cold sore.

Alternative cold sore treatments

You don’t need to take the prescription cold sore medicines we offer because there are over-the-counter alternatives you can buy at the pharmacy. The over-the-counter alternatives are less effective, but also come with less risk of serious side-effects.

There are also prescription-strength cold sore treatments we don’t prescribe – such as creams - and you always have the option of getting a prescription for these from a doctor in person.

You’ve also got the choice of not taking any medicine whatsoever for your cold sores.

‘Off-label’ use of medicines for preventative treatment

Doctors throughout the US routinely give patients the cold sore medicines we prescribe for daily preventative treatment. But it’s important to know that the FDA hasn’t specifically approved the medicines we prescribe for daily preventative use. That said, it’s totally normal for patients to get these medicines from doctors for cold sores.

Who We Can't Help

If any of the following apply, it’s in your best interest to see a doctor in person rather than use our cold sore service.

  • Under 18
  • Never had a cold sore before
  • Cold sore symptoms lasting over 10 days
  • Moderate to severe pain eating or drinking
  • Pregnant, may become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • Problems with your immune system as a result of HIV, treatment for cancer (chemotherapy), immune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, or long-term use of prednisone / steroids or other immunosuppressive medication
  • Organ transplant
  • Kidney problems or dehydration
  • Take medicine that can be toxic to the kidney (antibiotic called gentamicin, chemotherapy, anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naprosyn)
  • Severe headache including pain spreading to the front of your head, eye pain, or ear pain
  • Severe neck pain with sensitivity to light or sound
  • You want topical acyclovir (Zovirax), penciclovir (Denavir), or buccal tablet acyclovir (Sitavig).

GOT A QUESTION? GIVE US A CALL.

415 926 5818
M-F 8AM-5PM PT, 11AM-8PM ET

We're based in San Francisco. You can call us or hit us with questions on instant chat during business hours. You can send us a secure message through your Lemonaid account any time.

Email medical records

If you have a primary care provider, it’s important to keep them informed.

Go to your account to email a summary of the care we provide so you can share this information with your doctors. Or, contact us if you want us to send the summary of your care to your doctors. It's important that we're part of your overall care, not separated from it.

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