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Traditional treatments for warts
Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen and laser therapy are the most commonly used surgical methods for treating warts. Aldara cream 5% (imiquimod) is the most commonly used medical therapy. Other medical therapies include podophyllin and trichloroacetic acid. Aldara is effective in 50% of cases and has a 13% recurrence rate within 12 weeks in those initially successful cases. The Aldara 5% cream costs $130/month for 12 packets which are used 3x/week for up to 4 months.
Arch Dermatol 1998 Jan;134(1):25-30:
Self-administered topical 5% imiquimod cream for external anogenital warts. HPV Study Group. Human Papilloma Virus.
Edwards L, Ferenczy A, Eron L, Baker D, Owens ML, Fox TL, Hougham AJ, Schmitt KA Department of Internal Medicine, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC 28203, USA.
"Objective: To compare the safety and effectiveness of 5% and 1% imiquimod cream with vehicle cream in the treatment of external anogenital warts.
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled comparison that evaluated patients for total clearance of their warts.
Patients: Three hundred eleven healthy men and women aged 18 years or older with 2 to 50 external anogenital warts were recruited.
Interventions: Five percent (5%) imiquimod (Aldara) cream, 1% imiquimod cream, or vehicle cream was applied to all external warts overnight 3 times each week for 16 weeks, or until all treated warts disappeared, whichever occurred first.
Main Outcome Measurements: The number of patients experiencing the elimination of all baseline warts and the recurrence rate of these warts. In addition, the reduction in baseline wart area, the duration of therapy required to eliminate warts, and the frequency and severity of adverse reactions were principal measurements.
Results: 54 (50%) of 109 patients who received 5% imiquimod cream, 21 (21%) of 102 of those who received 1% imiquimod cream, and 11 (11%) of 100 patients treated with vehicle cream experienced eradication of all treated baseline warts. Local erythema was the most common adverse reaction, but the majority of patients in each group experienced no or only mild local inflammatory reactions."