Treatment of molluscum contagiosum in adult, pediatric, and immunodeficient populations

J Cutan Med Surg. 2014 Oct;18(5):299-306. doi: 10.2310/7750.2013.13133.


Background: Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that is widely considered to be a self-resolving disease that can be treated with benign neglect. However, the clinical reality is that the disease can vary widely by anatomic site and by recalcitrance to treatment and remains a significant cause of morbidity worldwide.

Objective: The purpose of this review was to compile an updated resource for clinicians that addresses the management of the broad spectrum of molluscum cases that may be encountered.

Methods: A comprehensive PubMed search was performed to identify publications on the treatment of molluscum infection, including presentations that may be rare or difficult.

Results: The specific clinical scenario of molluscum must be considered when selecting the optimal therapy because certain treatments can be more effective for specific patient subpopulations.

Conclusion: Further attention must be directed toward standardizing treatment for molluscum infection based on patient age and immune status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aminoquinolines / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cantharidin / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cidofovir
  • Cryotherapy
  • Curettage
  • Cytosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Cytosine / therapeutic use
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Molluscum Contagiosum / diagnosis
  • Molluscum Contagiosum / therapy*
  • Organophosphonates / therapeutic use
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / diagnosis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / therapy*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aminoquinolines
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Organophosphonates
  • Cytosine
  • Cantharidin
  • Cidofovir
  • Imiquimod