Warts and Plantar Warts (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Most warts do not need to be treated. They generally go away on their own within months or years. This may be because, with time, your immune system is able to destroy the human papillomavirus that causes warts.
If you decide to treat your warts, both nonprescription and prescription medicines are available.
For more information, see:
Nonprescription medicines include:
Prescription medicines less commonly used to treat warts include:
Immunotherapy triggers your immune system to destroy the virus causing the wart. Because some of the substances used for immunotherapy are expensive, dangerous, or require specialized handling, such treatment is usually considered only after other methods have failed. Immunotherapy options include contact sensitizers (such as squaric acid dibutyl ester or SADBE), imiquimod (Aldara), and interferon. Interferon is an experimental treatment and is used only for severe and treatment-resistant warts. Discuss the benefits and side effects of interferon treatment with your doctor.
Bleomycin injection destroys the skin containing the wart. Because bleomycin is painful during and after the injection, it is used infrequently.
What To Think About
Salicylic acid treatments are often effective. They are not very painful, not very expensive, and usually do not cause scarring. Salicylic acid is a good treatment for children because it is not very painful. For treatment to be successful, salicylic acid must be applied on a regular basis, usually for a number of months.
Wart treatment is not always successful. Even after a wart shrinks or disappears, warts may return or spread to other parts of the body. This is because most treatments only destroy the wart, but do not kill the virus that causes the wart.
Your treatment options will depend on the type, number, and location of the wart(s).
Other medicines used for warts include 5-fluorouracil, which is more often used on genital warts, and cimetidine. Cimetidine can be taken by mouth (orally) or as an injection.
As with any medicine, talk to your doctor before using a wart medicine if you are or may be pregnant. Some wart medicines may cause birth defects.
It is necessary to distinguish a plantar wart from a callus before choosing a treatment. Wart treatment applied to a callus may be painful or create scar tissue.
Plantar warts are often hard to treat because they lie beneath the skin. A doctor may need to pare the skin covering a wart to help the medicine penetrate the wart.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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