Efficacy of imiquimod 5% cream in the treatment of recalcitrant warts in children

Pediatr Dermatol. 2002 May-Jun;19(3):263-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1470.2002.00083.x.


Long-lasting cutaneous warts are a therapeutic challenge, especially widespread or symptomatic recalcitrant warts in children. It can be speculated that natural immunity to these human papillomavirus (HPV)- induced lesions is extremely poor. Therefore ideally treatment should focus on increasing local immune response. Recently imiquimod, a topical immune modifier, has been successfully used in the treatment of external genital warts. Our purpose is to report on our experiences with imiquimod 5% cream applied to therapy-resistant, long-lasting (duration 2-7 years) common warts in children. In 18 children, imiquimod cream was self-applied by the patients or by their parents to the warts twice a day. Assessment for response and occurrence of adverse effects was performed every 4 weeks until clinical cure. Follow-ups could be arranged in 14 of the 18 patients 1-2 years after total clearance. Sixteen of 18 patients experienced total clearance of their warts; 2 showed partial improvement but were lost to follow-up. The mean duration of treatment was 5.8 months. Two of the 14 patients in whom a follow-up was performed showed a small number of new warts after a period of at least 1 year without recurrence. Our data demonstrate that the topical application of imiquimod 5% cream is an effective treatment for long-lasting cutaneous warts in children.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Aminoquinolines / administration & dosage
  • Aminoquinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod
  • Male
  • Ointments
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Warts / drug therapy*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aminoquinolines
  • Ointments
  • Imiquimod