Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are contagious. They are spread by skin to skin contact to yourself and others.
There are several ways we can effectively treat warts, including cryosurgery (freezing), laser therapy, prescription medications (imiquimod) and over-the-counter medications.
Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are contagious. They are spread by skin to skin contact to yourself and others. There are several ways to effectively treat warts.
Common Treatments for Warts:
Laser therapy: Pulsed Dye Laser
Over-the-counter (OTC) wart preparations such as: Duofilm, Occlusol, Clear Away
Imiquimod cream + OTC preparation, such as: Duofilm, Occlusol, or Clear Away
Less Common Treatments for Warts
- Laser therapy: CO2 Laser - Penetrates deeper to actually vaporize the wart. Follow up visit in 1 month to see if wart is resolved, there is a risk of recurrence. This laser treatment is used less often because of increased discomfort and longer healing time; you will leave here with a hole in that area.
- Immunotherapy: injection of Candida skin antigen - Candida skin test antigen is injected directly into the wart. This results in the body fighting the wart from the inside out. You may require more than one treatment.
- Photodynamic therapy: Pulsed Dye Laser + aminolevulinic acid (Levulan). The acid is applied directly to the wart 1 – 24 hours before treatment with the pulsed dye laser increasing sensitivity to light in that area improving penetration of the laser.
- Oral medication: Cimetidine (Tagamet), taken daily by mouth, may help increase the body’s ability to fight warts. Data on its success rate is not clear, but we do add this for some selected cases.
- Contact sensitization: A series of applications of Squaric Acid are applied to the skin to create an allergic contact reaction to this chemical. As a result, the body’s immune system will be tricked into fighting the virus when applied directly to the wart.
- Retinoids: Tazarotene (Tazorac) cream or gel, a prescribed topical retinoid medication, can be applied daily or every other day in conjunction with an OTC medication. If significant irritation develops, apply every third day or stop treatment and contact our office.
- Anticancer / Antimetabolite drugs: 5-fluorouracil (Efudex), a topical chemotherapy drug, applied directly to the wart can stimulate the immune system to fight off the virus.
© 2012 Akron Dermatology. Last updated February 10, 2012.
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