Am I the last person in the know? Have you ever felt like they are having a party, and you haven’t been invited? That’s the way I am feeling. Something is afoot.
This week I woke up with a cold sore on my lip. For those of you who suffer as I do, you know the feeling, that dull burning sensation. For those of you who want to know more about cold sores, also known as Herpes Simplex type 1, or their symptoms check here.
When I went through dental school the drug of choice for cold sores was Acyclovir. From what I understand there is no cure for cold sores. The virus infects the nerve receptors, and it will always be there. And when triggered, it will go from a dormant stage to an active stage. In my case, heat will trigger an outbreak. If I get over-heated riding my bike or if I work out in the gym and my core body temperature goes up, give it a few days, and I’m sure to get a new sore on my lip.
The best way to use Acyclovir is when you first feel that burning sensation on your lip, that’s when you want to start rubbing the cream on the burning area. They claim that the lesion will not get as big while using the cream; the virus will not be able to do as much damage, and that you should heal quicker.
Acyclovir is by prescription only, so I thought I would call in a script. So I called in a prescription to Walmart. Since I would be paying for the cream out of pocket, I asked how much the price would be. I was quoted $701.88. This would be $701.88 for a 5-gram tube, a small tube that I could put in my pocket to carry around and pull out on occasion to apply to my upper lip.
Let me say that again; I was quoted $701.88.
As I was walking through Camden, I couldn’t help but think of everyone who suffers from cold sores. For $701.88, I wonder how many others are like myself and don’t have a choice; I would have to let the sore work its course.
I did go down to Rite-aid here in Camden to see what options I would have with over-the-counter medications. Wow, that was an eye opener. It’s amazing the stuff that is marketed. It made me wonder how effective these medications are, as compared to leaving the cold sore alone to run its course. If I had to pick the best over-the-counter medication for cold sores, I would go with Abreva. I did buy a tube, and overall it seems to be helping. If I had a choice though, I would rather use Acyclovir or Denavir.
Canadian Pharmacy options.
I have heard about patients who buy their medications from Canada. I was wondering, is it even legal to buy my medications in Canada? I found this great answer here. The short answer is yes. Although it is technically illegal, if you are buying drugs for your own use for a three months supply, they will allow it. The down side with getting your medications online from Canada is that you may have to wait a month before you receive the medication. That’s not going to help this time, but since I know that I will have cold sores in the future, maybe I can get some ahead of time.
As I was reading the different links on purchasing medications from Canada, I noticed that Amazon kept popping up, so I did a search on amazon.com for “5% acyclovir cream”. Wow, that was easy. The only problem was there were too many choices. There appear to be lots of sellers with lots of good reviews. I found a link where I could buy three tubes of the 5% acyclovir for $23.92, plus shipping and handling; it came out to $30.89. So that’s $2,105 worth of ointment for $30 and change. Hmmm, Is it too good to be true? No script necessary? All I needed was my Amazon account.
I called Walmart and spoke to the pharmacist and asked them for their input. Through the years I have worked with all the pharmacists in the area. I love those guys. So many times, when I am having questions or problems with medications, those guys are great. I had to get their input. After I had explained what I was seeing they mentioned that anybody could set up a website, anybody can make tubes of stuff and sell it. None of that stuff is regulated and that it’s possible to get stuck with some real junk.
I am a big fan of the FDA. I love the checks and balance systems that we have in place to protect our own. I found this great link from the FDA, with stories, explaining why we do things the way we do here in the USA.
Is there something afoot? As we know, computers and the internet have redefined so much of the way we do things such as music, movies, photos, and now pharmacies? As we proceed into the future, I hope that we can have affordable solutions as well as protect our citizens.
Norman Medina DDS, graduated from Loma Linda University Dental School in 1994. He has been practicing dentistry in Midcoast Maine since 1994. He and his wife Lanita have four children.