Background: Topical ionic contraviral therapy (ICVT) with digoxin and furosemide inhibits the potassium influx on which DNA viruses rely for replication. Therefore, ICVT was hypothesized to be a potential novel treatment for cutaneous warts.
Objectives: To assess the clinical efficacy, safety and tolerability of ICVT in adults with cutaneous warts. The secondary objective was to gain insight into the underlying working mechanism of ICVT.
Methods: Treatment with ICVT was assessed for efficacy, safety and tolerability in a single- centre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase IIA trial. Eighty adult patients with at least two cutaneous warts (plantar or common) were randomized to one of four treatments: digoxin + furosemide (0·125%), digoxin (0·125%), furosemide (0·125%) or placebo. The gel was administered once daily for 42 consecutive days. Predefined statistical analysis was performed with a mixed-model ancova. The trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov with number NCT02333643.
Results: Wart size and human papillomavirus (HPV) load reduction was achieved in all active treatment groups. A statistically significant reduction in wart diameter of all treated warts was shown in the digoxin + furosemide treatment group vs. placebo (-3·0 mm, 95% confidence interval -4·9 to -1·1, P = 0·002). There was a statistically significant reduction in the HPV load of all treated warts in the digoxin + furosemide group vs. placebo (-94%, 95% confidence interval -100 to -19, P = 0·03). With wart size reduction, histologically and immunohistochemically defined viral characteristics disappeared from partial and total responding warts.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates the proof of concept for the efficacy of topical ICVT in adults with cutaneous warts.
© 2018 The Authors. British Journal of Dermatology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Association of Dermatologists.