See a doctor in person if this is your 1st outbreak

Cold Sore Treatment

Get prescription-strength daily treatment delivered to your door. Current outbreaks treated too.

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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 quickly review your information and give you a prescription for an effective antiviral cold sore treatment.

What our patients are saying

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

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 months with FREE delivery

Valacyclovir 500 mg
generic of Valtrex

1 pill

1 time a day

Take every day

$50/ 3 months with FREE delivery

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

est. cost of medicine

Acyclovir 400 mg
generic of Zovirax

1 pill

3 times a day

5 days


Valacyclovir 1g
generic of Valtrex

2 pills

2 times a day

1 day


Famciclovir 500 mg
generic of Famvir

3 pills

1 time


We make getting treatment online super simple.

Select the type of cold sore medicine you want.

Answer health questions.

Pay visit fee

Medical team will review within 24 hours.

Some states require a video chat, we'll let you know.

Get meds in the mail.

If you’re getting treatment for an immediate outbreak, pick up meds at your local pharmacy.

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.

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.

If any of the following apply, please see a doctor in person

  • 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).

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