What Are Warts?
Warts are a common infection caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). Infection occurs through direct skin-to-skin contact, but may also occur indirectly through contaminated surfaces such as locker rooms, showers, swimming pools, wrestling mats, and gymnasiums. Some people who are exposed to HPV show no signs of infection while others develop classic signs of verruca (i.e. warty growths).
Frequently Asked Questions
Treatment of Warts
Because of the benign and self-limited nature of warts, treatment in most situations is optional. However some patients experience pain, discomfort, or embarrassment, and wish to pursue treatment.
There is currently no specific antiviral therapy available to cure HPV infection.² The existing treatment options focus on either destruction of visible verruca or helping the patient’s immune system fight the wart. There is no universal treatment for all warts. Some treatments are painful and can produce discoloration and scarring. Others are painless but more time-consuming. Often, the decision on which treatment to pursue is based upon:
1. The physician, patient, or parent’s preference
2. The number, type and distribution of warts
3. The effectiveness and tolerability of the treatment
4. Side effects
Some treatments are carried out in the home while others are performed in the office.
Immunotherapy relies upon a person’s immune system to mount a response against human papilloma virus.5 In patients who have normal immunity, this form of therapy can be quite effective and produce long-lasting clearance. Immunotherapy is available through prescription topical therapy, in-office topical therapy, intralesional therapy and oral systemic therapy.
l. Bleomycin for warts: A review. JDrugs Dermatol 2006 June 5 (6) 499 – 504
2. Bolognia, Jorizzo, and Rapini: Dermatology edition 2; Chapter 79 Human Papilloma Viruses
3. Lewis TG, Nydorf, ED: Intralesional Bleomycin for warts: A review. JDrugs Dermatol 2006 June 5 (6) 499 – 504
<4. Konicke K Olaze E; Successful treatment of recalcitrant plantar warts using Bleomycin and microneedling. Dermatological Surgery 2016 August (8) 1007-1008
5. Paller and Mancini: Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology, 4th edition, page 360
6. Horn TD, Johnson SM, Helm RM, Robertson PK: Intralesional immunotherapy of warts. Archives of Dermatology 141: 589 – 594 2005
7. Orlow SJ Paller A: Cimetidine therapy for multiple viral warts in children. JAAD 28 (5 Part 1): 794 – 796 1993
8. Silverberg NB, Lim JK,Paller AS, Mancini AJ: Squaric acid immunotherapy for warts in children. JAAD. 42:803 – 808 2000
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