Background: There are numerous therapeutic modalities available for treatment of molluscum contagiosum. However, the ablative modalities are painful and not suitable for children.
Aim: We aimed to evaluate and compare the safety and efficacy of 2 of the painless modalities, viz., 5% imiquimod cream and 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution, in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum.
Methods: Out of a total of 40 patients of molluscum contagiosum in the study, 18 patients in the imiquimod group and 19 patients in the KOH group completed the study. The given medication was applied by the patient or a parent to mollusca at night, 3 days per week. Imiquimod was continued till clinical cure; and 10% KOH, till lesions showed signs of inflammation. Assessments of response and side effects were performed at the end of week 4, week 8, and week 12. Significance was tested by Student's t test and Mann-Whitney test.
Results: The mean lesion count decreased from 22.39 to 10.75 with imiquimod and from 20.79 to 4.31 with KOH at the end of 12 weeks. We found complete clearance of lesions in 8 (44%) patients with imiquimod and in 8 (42.1%) patients with 10% KOH. Minor side effects were seen in 15 (78.9%) patients on KOH and 10 (55.5%) patients on imiquimod.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that both 5% imiquimod cream and 10% KOH solution are equally effective in molluscum contagiosum though KOH has a faster onset of action. However, KOH solution is associated with a higher incidence of side effects.