Sprurance SL, Nett R, Marbury T, Wolff R, Johnson J, Spaulding T. Aciclovir cream for the treatment of herpes labialis: results of two randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, multicentre clinical trials. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2002; 46: 2238-2243. RATIONALE: Aciclovir 5% cream reduced the mean duration and pain of an episode by about half a day.

Sprurance SL, Rea TL, Thoming C, Tucker R, Saltzman R, Boon R. Penciclovir cream for the treatment of herpes simplex labialis. A randomized, double-blind, multicentre, placebo-controlled trial. JAMA 1997;277: 1374-1379. RATIONALE: Penciclovir 1% cream reduced the mean duration of cold sores by 0.7 days.

Raborn GW, Martel AY, Lassonde M, Lewis MA, Boon R, Sprurance SL. Effective treatment of herpes simplex labialis with penciclovir cream: combined results of two trials. J Am Dent Assoc 2002;133: 303-309. RATIONALE: Penciclovir cream reduced the mean duration of cold sores by 1 day.

Arduino PG and Porter SR. Oral and perioral herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-I) infection: review of its management. Oral Dis 2006;12(3): 254-70. RATIONALE: Prophylaxis with oral antivirals may be of use for those with frequent, severe episodes, or predictable triggers e.g. sunlight, or for immunocompromised individuals (i.e. at higher risk of complications). Seek specialist advice if long-term prophylaxis is being considered.

The POCAST project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance at Imperial College London and by the Imperial College Healthcare Charity (Grant Ref No:7006/P36U).