Verrucas. Guidelines for management

Am J Clin Dermatol. May-Jun 2000;1(3):143-9. doi: 10.2165/00128071-200001030-00001.


Most people will experience infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) at some point in their life. Diagnosis, based on clinical examination, is usually straight forward. Treatment can, however, be challenging. Indications for treatment include pain, interference with function, cosmetic embarrassment, and risk of malignancy. Clearance rates are highest in young, healthy individuals with short duration of infection. Treatment may be with destructive agents (keratolytics, cryotherapy, curettage and cautery, laser, photodynamic therapy), with antimitotic agents (podophyllin, bleomycin, retinoids), with immune stimulants (topical sensitizers, cimetidine), or with topical virucidal agents [formaldehyde (formalin), glutaral (gluteraldehyde)]. As yet, there is no single totally effective treatment for viral warts. Some patients may choose to leave their warts untreated until spontaneous resolution. In those who seek intervention, simple, well tolerated therapies should be chosen initially in preference to more complicated, potentially harmful agents. It is likely that future research will be directed to developing an antiviral agent specific for HPV which would be safe, effective and not prohibitively expensive.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Protocols
  • Humans
  • Skin Diseases / therapy*
  • Warts / therapy*