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Treatments that may be prescribed by a medical professional include:
* Keratolysis, removal of dead surface skin cells usually using salicylic acid, blistering agents, immune system modifiers ("immunomodulators"), or formaldehyde.
* Cryosurgery, which involves freezing the wart (generally with liquid nitrogen), after which the wart and surrounding dead skin falls off by itself.
* Surgical curettage of the wart.
* Laser treatment.
* Imiquimod, a topical cream that helps the body's immune system fight the wart virus by encouraging interferon production.
* Candida injections at the site of the wart, which also stimulate the body's immune system.
* Cantharidin, a chemical found naturally in many members of the beetle family Meloidae which causes dermal blistering.
The wart often regrows after the skin has healed from this treatment.
One review of 52 clinical trials of various cutaneous wart treatments concluded that topical treatments containing salicylic acid were the best supported, with an average cure rate of 75% observed with salicylic acid compared with 48% for placebo in six placebo-controlled trials including a total of 376 participants. The reviewers also concluded that there was little evidence of a significant benefit of cryotherapy over placebo or no treatment.
There are also several over-the-counter options. The most common ones involve salicylic acid. These products are readily available at most drugstores and supermarkets. There are typically two types of products: adhesive pads treated with salicylic acid, or a bottle of concentrated salicylic acid. Removing a wart with this method requires a strict regimen of cleaning the area, applying the salicylic acid, and removing the dead skin with a pumice stone or emery board. It may take up to 12 weeks to remove a stubborn wart.
Another over-the-counter product that can aid in wart removal is silver nitrate in the form of a caustic pencil, which is also available at drug stores. This method generally takes three to six daily treatments to be effective. The instructions must be followed to minimize staining of skin and clothing.
Over-the-counter cryosurgery kits are also available, however they can often cost 3 times as much as the previously named products.
Like prescription treatments, over-the-counter treatments usually require multiple applications, and are only necessary if the warts are problematic. Additionally, these treatments are capable of destroying healthy skin as well as warts, so caution must be exercised by those attempting them without medical supervision.
Duct tape occlusion therapy involves placing a piece of duct tape (or medical tape) over the affected area for a week at a time. The procedure is otherwise identical to that of using salicylic acid adhesive pads. This remedy has great sucess. One study found that the duct tape method was 85% effective, compared to a 60% success rate in the study's cryotherapy group. Another study, however, found no statistically significant effect. "Whether or not the standard type of duct tape is effective is up in the air," said co-author Dr. Rachel Wenner of the University of Minnesota, who started the new study as a medical student. "Theoretically, the rubber adhesive could somehow stimulate the immune system or irritate the skin in a different manner."
Cryo kits mentioned above can be duplicated by using a can of compressed air upside down to freeze the soft end of a cotton swab. After freezing the tip of the cotton swab for five or six seconds, the swab can be applied directly on the wart for the same amount of time. This has the same effect as liquid nitrogen treatment. Multiple treatments over weeks may be required as with any cryo treatment.
Other household remedies include the application of common household items, such as a bruised garlic (held in place with a bandage or duct tape), banana skin, vinegar, hot water and washing liquid, aerosol sprays, tea tree oil and other natural oils, unskinned potatoes, potato or cauliflower juice, salt, or vegemite to the affected area. Milkweed or dandelion sap is also used. Anecdotal evidence suggests poison ivy can be effective (with extreme care). Accounts vary in regards to how long these remedies must be applied with each session and how long they take to work. Care should be taken with bruised garlic, which can burn surrounding tissue if left on too long.
Clear nail polish can also be applied in the morning and before bed over the infected area, and the warts should fall off in about a week or two.
Without controlled studies for most household remedies, it is difficult to know whether the warts disappear because the remedies work, or if they disappear due to the individual's own immune system response to the virus (possibly augmented by a placebo effect). The success of hypnosis in curing warts at least suggests that the condition may be cured by belief in a remedy, the placebo effect or other psychological means.
Some household remedies are potentially dangerous. These include attempts to cut or burn away the warts. Incense is sometimes used in Asian countries to burn warts. These methods are very painful, and can lead to infection and/or permanent scarring.
It is common for many wart sufferers to also try to "pick" at or pull their warts off with their fingernails. While this may seem helpful to the individual at first, it often compounds the problem because the wart may actually get larger. Dermatologists strongly advise against any home remedies.
One type of treatment that many people try is by simply "cutting" it off. But not only the wart but the tissue underneath and around the wart. Though painful, this type of treatment can remove all of the infected area. It is important to try and disinfect the area after and keep clean until the area heals.
Rubbing alcohol can as well be applied to warts to kill the virus. Rubbing Alcohol can take near a week to a month to completely kill a wart depending on the size of the wart. Apply rubbing alcohol directly to the wart twice a day or how ever many times you want. You may also try soaking the wart in rubbing alcohol for several minutes depending on where its at. If you are trying to get rid of a facial or genital wart, soaking it probably is not a option. Use a cu-tip to apply the rubbing alcohol to it. Rubbing alcohol not only kills the wart itself, but it also functions to prevent any infections from making it worse, as alcohol, in a high enough concentration, is a highly effective antiseptic.
The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.