Purpose: Genital warts are a highly prevalent and chronic sexually transmitted disease for which there is no completely satisfactory therapy. Conventional ablative therapy requires repeated treatment, often for months or years. This study was undertaken to evaluate the safety and efficacy of 0.5% podofilox in patient-administered treatment of penile warts.
Patients and methods: Thirty-eight men with penile warts were randomly assigned to double-blind, self-administration of 0.5% podofilox solution or placebo, twice daily for 3 days per week for 4 weeks. Eleven podofilox and 15 placebo recipients with residual warts then received an additional 4 weeks of open-label treatment.
Results: By the end of treatment, podofilox recipients had their mean wart number and area reduced to 15.9% and 5.1% of baseline values, compared to 97.4% and 92.9% in the placebo group (p = 0.0001). Local adverse reactions were more common in the podofilox group, but were transient. Complete disappearance of warts was observed in 25 (53.3%) of 45 treatment courses, including open-label treatment. Recurrences of warts after therapy were frequent. Only 21% of patients remained free of warts 2 weeks after completing treatment, and subsequent recurrences were noted in all patients available for long-term follow-up, which is a common limitation of ablative therapy for genital warts.
Conclusion: Podofilox 0.5% solution is effective in treating penile warts and is well tolerated in a self-administered regimen. Podofilox 0.5% offers potential advantages in safety and cost over podophyllin resin therapy of genital warts.