For warts: OTC topical cream as effective as freezing by a doctor

So, you or your child have a wart. Should you treat it with an over-the-counter product containing 50% salicylic acid (aspirin)? Or, should you have your doctor freeze it? Which is more effective?

Medscape reports on a recent study in Health Technology showing that in 240 patients with cutaneous warts, who were “randomly assigned either to receive

  • cryotherapy (n = 117), using liquid nitrogen, administered by a podiatrist, practice nurse, or general practitioner, or
  • to treat themselves once a day with 50% salicylic acid (n = 123) …”

The percentage of “patients with complete clearance of all verrucae (warts) at 12 weeks was comparable between the salicylic acid and cryotherapy groups.”

This suggests there is little difference between the two treatments, although “cryotherapy was more expensive than salicylic acid.”

So, I’d say give it a go at home. If the wart is growing, becoming painful, or not gone after 12 weeks, it’s time to see your doctor.

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