The effect of a natural topical treatment on cold sores

Do you suffer from facial cold sores?

Can a natural topical cold sore treatment help treat facial cold sores?

Researchers at NICM Health Research Institute and the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand are looking for men and women aged 18 to 65 to join a clinical trial to find out if a natural topical cold sore treatment helps reduce the duration and symptoms of facial cold sores. If you live in Sydney, you may be eligible to join.


Who can join?

  • You are aged between 18 and 65.
  • You have had at least three previous outbreaks or episodes of cold sores.
  • It has been less than 48 hours since your cold sore symptoms first started, and:
    • Your cold sore has NOT turned into an ulcer.
    • You have NOT used another treatment for your cold sore.
  • Have internet access on your mobile phone, tablet or computer.
  • You can attend a participating pharmacy before your cold sore is 48 hours old.

What's involved?

After assessment and consent, you will be required to:

  • Attend a participating pharmacy twice – once when your cold sore begins, and again when it has healed.
  • Complete an online diary once a day for up to 14 days and a satisfaction survey once your cold sore has completely healed. This takes about 1-2 minutes per day and can be done from your mobile phone, tablet or computer.
  • Whilst undergoing this treatment, if the cold sore turns into an ulcer, you will need to take a swab (at home) and then post it back to our lab in a pre-paid envelope. We provide you with the kit when you visit the pharmacy. This takes about 5 minutes.

What are the benefits of participating?

  • You may experience a reduction in the duration of your cold sore and your pain and other symptoms (such as burning or tingling).
  • Once you have completed your second pharmacy visit, you will be reimbursed for your travel expenses by way of a $60 gift voucher.

For more details about this study please read the following information before deciding on whether to participate or not.


Interested in participating in this study?

Please attend one of the participating pharmacies as soon as possible, as you need to attend the pharmacy within 48 hours of your cold sore starting. You do not need to call ahead or make an appointment, just mention this study to one of the pharmacy staff.

If you would like to discuss the study with a member of the research team,  please email the NICM clinical trial coordinator at coldsoretrial@westernsydney.edu.au.


Human Research Ethics Committee Approval: This clinical trial has been approved by Western Sydney University Human Research Ethics Committee (Approval Number: H12776). This study is supported by NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University and Sci-Chem International Pty Ltd. NICM Chief Investigator: Dr Mike Armour

WSU NICM Logo