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Diseases & Conditions

Treatment

How are warts treated?

In most cases, warts are harmless and can disappear without treatment. However, people can seek treatment for warts when the condition is bothersome or embarrassing. In some cases, warts might recur after treatment. More than one type of treatment might be necessary. Although practitioners attempt to clear warts quickly, most methods require multiple treatments. Treatments include:

Freezing (cryotherapy)

During this treatment, a doctor will use liquid nitrogen to freeze a wart. A blister forms around the wart, and the dead tissue falls off within about a week.

Cantharidin

This substance, which is mixed with other chemicals and applied to the skin, forms a blister around the wart. After cantharidin is applied, the area is covered with a bandage. The blister lifts the wart off the skin so the doctor can remove the dead portion of the wart.

Other medicines

These include Bleomycin, which is injected into a wart to kill a virus. Imiquimod (Aldara) is an immunotherapy medicine that comes in the form of a prescription cream. Although Aldara is stated for genital warts, it is effective on all types of warts. Bleomycin, when injected, produces flu-like symptoms. For this reason, patients might be pre-medicated with Tylenol.

Experimental treatments

These include DNCB (dinitrochlorobenzene), which has been successfully used to treat warts. It requires follow-up applications that might be done either in the office by the doctor or a nurse, or at home by the patient. DNCB is not approved by the FDA, and is considered experimental.

Minor surgery

During this procedure, a doctor will cut away the wart, and destroy the base by using an electric needle. The doctor might opt to deep freeze the base (cryosurgery). Surgery is used when warts cannot be removed by other therapies.

Laser surgery

This procedure is used for warts that are difficult to treat.