A randomised double-blind study comparing the effect of 1072-nm light against placebo for the treatment of herpes labialis


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Dr George Hargate, Newlands Medical Centre, Borough Road, Middlesbrough TS1 3RX, UK.
E-mail: g.hargate@ntlworld.com


Background.  Previous research demonstrated that 1072-nm narrowband laser light is effective in the treatment of cold sores.

Aim.  To evaluate the efficacy of an over-the-counter cold-sore treatment device (Virulite CS) incorporating 1072-nm light-emitting diodes.

Methods.  A randomised, prospective, double-blind, self-reported study was performed to compare the efficacy of at least six 3-min treatments of 1072-nm narrowband light against placebo, in the treatment of herpes labialis.

Results.  The 1072-nm light-emitting diode device reduced cold-sore healing time to 6.3 days compared with 9.4 days for placebo (P = 0.048). The time the cold sore took to form a crust was also reduced from 2.00 days for those treated with 1072-nm light, compared with 2.88 days for placebo (P = 0.059)

Conclusions.  The significant difference between the mean healing times in the two groups demonstrates that the Virulite CS device is an effective means of treating herpes labialis.