Anti-virals Before Fraxel Laser?

Should anti-virals be taken everytime before Fraxel laser even if I didn't have herpes infection before?

Doctor Answers 3

It is a good idea

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Although it is not mandatory, it is a good idea if the whole face is being done or the area surrounding the mouth. Most humans have been exposed to the ever-present cold sore virus. You may never have had an outbreak but if you had a blood test, antibodies might be found against the virus suggesting you were exposed at one time. Later in life, a stressful period such as an illness, extreme fatigue, a sunburn, heavy alcohol intake, or skin trauma such as laser, could activate the dormant virus and a cold sore develops. Normally the skin is intact and a cold sore remains solitary. During the healing period after Fraxel and other lasers, the skin is somewhat compromised and one cold sore can multiply into many fever blisters which could cause scarring over the face. If you don’t take the medicine prophylactically, make sure you alert your physician if a painful lesion occurs during the healing even if it doesn’t look like a cold sore to you. It could look just like a small raw spot on the skin. If it is diagnosed as a cold sore, then the medication should be taken.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

If you have a history of Herpes infections, yes

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Before any Ablative laser such as Fraxel CO2 Repair or nonablative laser such as Fraxel Restore if you have a history of Herpes around the mouth area then you should take antivirals before EVERY procedure.

If you don't have a history of Herpes then it will up to your physician and you to decide on whether you should take it or not.

Nissan Pilest, MD
Irvine Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Fraxel Laser and Anti-Virals

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi Marcus,

If you are having Fraxel re:pair (ablative fractionated CO2 laser), then antivirals should be taken by all patients.

If you are having Fraxel re:store (non-ablative Erbium fractionated laser), and you have never had a herpes infection before, then you do not need to take the antivirals.

Some patients and physicians err on the side of safety and treat all patients every time as there is no guarantee that a patient won't develop their first infection after the treatment.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.