Cold Sores

Cold sores are oral blisters which are caused by the herpes simplex virus; while shingles is caused by the same viral strain responsible for chickenpox. Both can be treated with Zovirax.

  1. Both conditions are caused by reactivation of a virus
  2. Acting fast can help to reduce severity of symptoms
  3. Get access to effective treatment online

Buying cold sore and shingles medicine in the UK has never been safer, or simpler. At, we’ll get your case to a prescribing doctor, and deliver your medicine to your door.

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0 treatment(s) for Cold Sores



  1. Widely-used antiviral product
  2. Provides a rapid response to symptoms
  3. Choose from a cream, suspension fluid or dispersible tablet

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1, and in rarer cases, HSV-2), while shingles symptoms are caused by herpes zoster. The viruses are not the same, but both belong to a category of infections called alphaherpesvirinae.

Herpes simplex virus is more commonly transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, such as via sexual intercourse. When a person becomes infected, they will usually experience initial symptoms for around two weeks or less. Once these have passed, the infection will go into a period of hibernation. This might last for weeks, months, or even years. Reactivations tend to occur when the immune system of the host becomes weakened; or can appear when the person carrying the virus comes into physical contact with it again, usually through sexual contact with someone else who has it. There are two strains of herpes simplex virus; HSV-1 and -2. Cold sores are more often the result of HSV-1 infection, although they can be caused by HSV-2 as well. They manifest in the form of pus-filled blisters on and around the lips, and appear when the virus is active.

Herpes zoster (or shingles) is similar, in that it causes visible red skin blemishes. However, these will start out as a rash, and then usually turn into blisters after a short period. And unlike HSV, these are more likely to appear in non-specific areas on the body. Typically, shingles will only appear on one side the host’s body. Symptoms of herpes zoster also usually include swollen glands and a fever. The condition occurs when the virus which causes chickenpox reactivates. As with HSV, when the varicella zoster virus is present in a person’s body, it does not die. The herpes virus is simply rendered dormant by the immune system. The rash is usually easy to identify.

Treatment both of these illnesses is issued in the form of antiviral medicine. One such popular choice is Zovirax GlaxoSmithKline. This contains the ingredient aciclovir, which prevents the virus responsible for infection from commandeering cells and spreading. It does this by disabling the virus’s ability to produce DNA polymerase, a chemical the virus needs to enable it to synthesise new genetic material. Once the advance of the virus has been halted by the medicine, the body’s defences take over and force it into a state of latency.

With cold sores and shingles, it is important to be aware of what initial symptoms look like, as the faster you act, the more likely you are limit the severity of the outbreak.

At, we can help you get quick and easy access to the treatment you need. Our doctors are waiting to review your case, and once your medicine has been approved, our dispensing UK pharmacy will send your order by next-day courier. Choose your product, and take our online questionnaire today.

Page last reviewed:  13/10/2017
Types of Treatments

Types of Treatment

At present, there is no cure for cold sores. Although symptoms will may only appear for a short time in between long periods of dormancy, once the herpes simplex virus infects a person, they carry will it for life.

Similarly, the varicella zoster virus which causes chickenpox never really goes away when a person recovers. While chickenpox may not reoccur, the virus can re-manifest as herpes zoster, or shingles.

Treatments for both conditions aim to decrease the duration and severity of symptoms, and to help the immune system push the virus back into a state of inactivity as soon as possible. The go-to option for these conditions are antivirals such as Zovirax GSK. This particular product is available as a tablet, a dispersible tablet, or a cream.

How do they work?

Zovirax contains an antiviral ingredient called aciclovir. This treats the infection by stopping the virus from replicating itself inside the body and spreading.

To thrive, the virus requires the production of an enzyme, called DNA polymerase. This enables it to copy its genetic material and infect cells in the body. Antivirals like aciclovir prevent the generation of this enzyme, thereby halting the growth process of the virus, and leaving it open to attack from the immune system. The body’s natural defenses then render the virus inactive.

What are the side effects?

This treatment is available in a variety of forms and as such, the side effects of each may differ. It is important to read the patient information leaflet provided with your chosen product before you use it, so that you are aware of the potential side effects and are able to seek immediate medical attention if they begin to appear.

More common side effects associated with Zovirax Cream are skin irritation, burning sensations and feelings of itchiness; whereas Zovirax standard tablets may induce headaches, dizziness, or stomach pain. This is only a brief summary of the possible known side effects, and more detailed information can be found on the product page or in the leaflet supplied.

Can I take them with other medications?

It depends which version you are using. Zovirax Cream is not likely to interact with other medicines; while the tablet version may affect the function of medicines such as probenecid, mycophenolate mofetil, cimetidine, ciclosporin, theophylline, or zidovudine. Always tell your prescriber about any other medications you are using during consultation.

Page last reviewed:  13/10/2017

What’s the difference between the medications?

All Zovirax products contain the agent aciclovir, which is an antiviral medicine indicated for the treatment of herpes infections. The main difference between the three options is their method of application. One is a cream you apply directly to the site of infection; whereas the tablet versions are taken orally.

Should I take Zovirax Cream, tablets or dispersible tablets?

The condition you’re suffering from will determine the type and dose of treatment you use. Zovirax Cream is typically used for milder, infrequent cold sores; whereas tablet treatment may be better for recurrent cases. For shingles, tablet medicine is much more effective, and will be issued in a larger dose than that given for HSV.

For cases of HSV, your choice might be determined by your susceptibility to potential side effects, and also which method is more convenient for you. As the tablet is stronger, the list of associated side effects for it is more extensive than that for the cream. But some people may prefer to take tablets than apply a cream. Others may have trouble swallowing whole tablets, and opt for the water-soluble version.

To find out more, and help you weigh up the benefits of each, take a look at the relevant product pages. If you are still unsure, ask your doctor.

Are there different side effects?

Yes. Zovirax Cream may cause skin irritation, sensations of burning, or itching. The most common side effects of the tablet are headache, upset stomach and dizziness. More detailed information relating to the side effects for each product can be found in the safety leaflets provided.

Is it right for me?

Find out which option is the best one for you by taking our short health assessment. A physician will examine your answers. If your medicine is approved, we’ll have it ready and at your door the following working day.

Page last reviewed:  13/10/2017
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