Background: Several general practitioner (GP)-prescribed and over-the-counter therapies for warts and verrucae are available. However, the cost-effectiveness of these treatments is unknown.
Objectives: To compare the cost-effectiveness of different treatments for cutaneous warts.
Methods: We designed a decision-analytic Markov simulation model based on systematic review evidence to estimate the cost-effectiveness of various treatments. The outcome measures studied are percentage of patients cured, cost of treatment and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for each treatment, compared with no treatment, after 18 weeks.
Results: Duct tape was most cost-effective but published evidence of its effectiveness is sparse. Salicylic acid was the most cost-effective over-the-counter treatment commonly used. Cryotherapy administered by a GP was less cost-effective than GP-prescribed salicylic acid and less cost-effective than cryotherapy administered by a nurse.
Conclusions: Duct tape could be adopted as the primary treatment for cutaneous warts if its effectiveness is verified by further rigorous trials. Nurse-administered cryotherapy is likely to be more cost-effective than GP-administered cryotherapy.