A randomized clinical trial on the treatment of oral herpes with topical zinc oxide/glycine.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 May-Jun;7(3):49-56. PMID: 11347285
CONTEXT: A zinc preparation that provides a higher concentration of solubilized zinc in a minimally irritating formulation allowing controlled absorption would be of great clinical value for treating oral herpes. OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of zinc oxide/glycine cream as a treatment for facial and circumoral herpes infection by measuring duration and intensity of signs and symptoms and assessing adverse effects. DESIGN: Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. SETTING: Subjects were enrolled from the general community through advertisements. PATIENTS: Forty-six subjects with facial or circumoral herpes infections. INTERVENTION: Application of a zinc oxide/glycine cream or a placebo cream every 2 hours until cold sore resolved or 21 days elapsed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Duration of cold sore lesions, severity of signs and symptoms, and frequency of adverse effects. RESULTS: Subjects who began treatment with a zinc oxide/glycine cream within 24 hours of onset of signs and symptoms experienced a significantly shorter duration of cold sore lesions (mean, 5.0 days) than did subjects treated with a placebo cream (mean, 6.5 days). Subjects treated with the zinc oxide/glycine cream also experienced reduction in overall severity of signs and symptoms, particularly blistering, soreness, itching, and tingling. Side effects among subjects treated with zinc oxide/glycine cream were those expected from an ionic zinc salt solution. All were completely reversible and of short duration. CONCLUSION: Zinc oxide/glycine cream is an effective treatment for facial and circumoral herpes infection with predictable adverse effects that are completely reversible.