Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective evidence-based medicine review is to determine whether or not low-level light therapy accelerates healing time of oral herpes simplex lesions.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three randomized control trials between 2006 and 2013.

DATA SOURCES: Three randomized, double-blind and semi-blind control trials found via PubMed.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: The primary endpoint measured was healing time, which was defined as time for oral herpes lesions to fully resolve and underlying skin to become completely re-epithelialized. 3,4 The secondary endpoint measured time it took lesions to crust over. 3,4 One study also measured recurrence of lesions over a one-year time period.6

RESULTS: Two randomized control trials showed statistically significant (P=0.0143, P=0.0484) reduction of healing time with direct application of 1072-nm light on the lesion using a Virulite CS device for three minutes, three times daily for two days. This therapy reduced healing time by 48-72 hours compared to placebo. 3,4 The other randomized control trial found that direct application of a 670-nm diode laser on the lesion, as well as radiation over C2-C3 vertebrae, resulted in completely healed lesions in one week and a large reduction in recurrence over a one-year period compared to treatment with commonly-used agents, including acyclovir cream and tablets.6

CONCLUSION: Review of these articles concludes that direct application of low-level light therapy significantly accelerates the healing time of oral herpes simplex lesions. This therapy exhibited great patient satisfaction, as they did not have to endure unsightly facial lesions for a long duration of time, and their symptoms of pain and burning were significantly reduced. Another added benefit of this therapy is patient acceptance, as patients reported simple usage and denied any negative effects of the light therapy.