Boots Pharmaceuticals Avert Electronic Cold Sore Machine

Boots Pharmaceuticals Avert Electronic Cold Sore Machine

Cold sores are unpleasant things at the best of times, but for some people they have the particularly nasty trick of returning year after year in the same spot usually in the depth of winter when you are at your lowest ebb.

The reason for this is because they are caused by a virus that hangs around. Most of the time your body can control it, but when your defences are stretched the virus can reassert itself. Viruses bury themselves deep in the cells which makes them tough to deal with. The best science has come up with in terms of drugs is Acyclovir and some similar agents. These do work, but it has to be said that their efficacy is nothing to write home about. Clinical trials show that cold sores clear up a bit quicker with treatment than without. But they don’t reliably get rid of them in the way say wart treatments do warts.

So I dread it when people ask me what is good for cold sores, because the honest answer is not very much. It is not a fun answer. But somebody I ran into over Christmas told me that they had tried a machine that had cleared up their cold sores in about two days. I was intrigued but didn’t think too much of it. Cold sores do clear up spontaneously and there are lots of quack remedies for them. One person’s good experience could simply be a coincidence, and was probably exactly that.

But I was interested enough to do a bit of research to see what they had been talking about and worked out that they were referring to Boots Avert Cold Sore Machine. Boots isn’t the stern highly ethical organisation it once was, but even so I would be surprised to see them putting their name to something that didn’t work at all. I had a look at some online reviews most of which were highly favourable. Was there any scientific evidence behind it?

A bit of digging around produced a pilot clinical trial, followed up with a full scale study 5 years later both reported in a very reputable journal. The results showed the machine working better than Acyclovir.

How does it work? If you have cold sores you probably don’t care but I am a scientist and I do. It isn’t at all obvious. The machine gives the cold sore a dose of laser light for three minutes. Perhaps the virus is specifically vulnerable to that particular wavelength of light. Perhaps it just creates very localised heating that destroys all the tissues in the small area of cells infected with the virus. Perhaps it simply induces a strong local inflammatory reaction and the sufferer’s own immune system does the work.

The drawbacks are that it is a bit on the pricey side at £36, and holding a machine against your skin for three minutes is not very convenient. But I imagine people who suffer would be willing to put up with these.

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2001 Mar;26(2):149-54. A pilot study of treatment of herpes labialis with 1072 nm narrow waveband light. Dougal G, Kelly P.

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2006 Sep;31(5):638-41. Epub 2006 Jun 15. A randomised double-blind study comparing the effect of 1072-nm light against placebo for the treatment of herpes labialis. Hargate G.


5 thoughts on “Boots Pharmaceuticals Avert Electronic Cold Sore Machine”

  1. Colin, I’ve got to admit (and weirdly have a post coming up on cold sores tomorrow) that this worked really well for me and my son; particularly on my son. I have used it for some years – its previous incarnation was Virulite but I think they must have sold out to Boots.. and when it was Virulite you could, in theory, get a prescription from the doctor for it so its well worth asking your GP. I’ve also used Quantun Lysine Cold Sore Treatment and from personal use can say it is SO much better than Acyclovere in terms of reducing cold sore time. With the Avert, three minutes is a small price to pay if it stops the cold sore emerging. I did find over time that Avert was less effective, but strangely – about to overshare here – it seems to have diverted cold sores from just above my lip to inside my nose..not nice but far less awkward than having a big sore on my face. I used to literally cancel everything for two weeks, but now that nobody can see them I don’t have to bother. Really interested to have read what you have to say, but just on personal use I can absolutely testify that for me Avert does work in reducing time and even stopping the sores appearing in the first place (less for me because I don’t get a tingle, but Max does and it’s certainly stopped his appearing). x

    1. Thanks BBB. For anyone who wants to read that review you can find it here. If you are a cold sore sufferer do bear in mind that something that works really well for somebody else may not work for you. Having said that, I have only heard positive things about this one so far.

  2. Thanks for this Kyle. I’ve been looking at information about the Avert cold sore machine and haven’t found anything remotely useful.

  3. Yasmine Makki

    I know this post is was written a while ago, but on the off chance someone looking for Avert cold sore machine from Boots as I now am for my sister, I can say that it works better than any cream I’ve tried. It increases my healing by more than 50% (for myself personally). Unfortunately Boots has discontinued this under the radar product and I’m now on the hunt for a similar item. Such a brilliant, brilliant product!

  4. My cold sores take 2 weeks to heal no matter how quick I am to apply cream at that first tingle, to using the avert device to doing both. To also eating a healthy diet, taking extra vitamin C, zinc, Multi B, plus acidophilus for good gut/ immunity. ????

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