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Retinoid (Tretinoin) Cream for Warts


Generic NameBrand Name
tretinoinAvita, Renova, Retin-A

How It Works

Tretinoin is derived from vitamin A, one of a class of substances called retinoids. Retinoid cream disrupts the wart's skin cell growth. Follow your health professional's instructions for applying it at home.

Why It Is Used

Retinoids are commonly used to treat acne and aging skin.

How Well It Works

Experts don't know whether tretinoin cream is an effective treatment for common warts.

Side Effects

Oral use of retinoid medicine is linked with serious birth defects. So tretinoin cream is not recommended for pregnant women.

When applied to the skin, tretinoin cream can cause:

  • Dry, irritated skin.
  • Changes in skin color.
  • Sunlight sensitivity (requiring sunscreen use or covering of treated skin).
  • Red, swollen, crusted, or blistered skin.

Overuse of tretinoin cream can increase skin irritation without improving treatment results.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Tretinoin safety data for children and breast-feeding women is not well established.

Tretinoin treatment of women who are or could be pregnant is not recommended.

Do not use tretinoin cream in combination with another topical treatment, such as salicylic acid, because significant skin irritation can result.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)Click here to view a form.(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAlexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last RevisedSeptember 2, 2010

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