Comparing wart treatments

A Dutch study has investigated which wart treatment is the best to use in primary care. It randomised patients to have liquid nitrogen, salicylic acid or no treatment.

Thirty general practices recruited 250 patients, four years and older, with cutaneous warts. 

Approximately half the patients had plantar warts.

Cryotherapy was given every two weeks. Three applications of 2–10 seconds were administered at each session. The other active treatment was a daily application of a jelly containing 40% salicylic acid.

These treatments were continued for 13 weeks or until the warts disappeared.

After 13 weeks the cure rate was 16% in the ‘wait and see’ group, 39% with cryotherapy and 24% with salicylic acid.

Cryotherapy was more effective than salicylic acid for common warts, but the treatments were equally effective for plantar warts.

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