Treatment of external genital warts comparing cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen) and trichloroacetic acid

Sex Transm Dis. 1993 Nov-Dec;20(6):344-5.


Background and objectives: To evaluate and compare the efficacy and adverse effects of trichloracetic acid and cryotherapy (using liquid nitrogen) in the treatment of external genital warts.

Study design: Eighty-six patients were enrolled into a randomized clinical trial in the Genitourinary Medicine Department of the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital (Coventry) between November 1990 and June 1991. External genital warts were treated with either trichloracetic acid or cryotherapy (using liquid nitrogen) on a once weekly basis. They received up to six treatments of either therapy.

Results: Complete clearance of warts in patients who received up to six treatments of cryotherapy were observed in 86% of cases and in 70% of patients who received up to six treatments of trichloracetic acid. Thirty percent of patients who were treated with trichloracetic acid developed ulcerations at the site of its application.

Conclusion: In this study we found that cryotherapy (using liquid nitrogen) is more effective than that of trichloracetic acid for the treatment of external genital warts. It is also less likely to cause ulceration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Condylomata Acuminata / drug therapy
  • Condylomata Acuminata / therapy*
  • Cryotherapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genital Diseases, Female / chemically induced
  • Genital Diseases, Female / drug therapy
  • Genital Diseases, Female / therapy*
  • Genital Diseases, Male / chemically induced
  • Genital Diseases, Male / drug therapy
  • Genital Diseases, Male / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitrogen / therapeutic use
  • Trichloroacetic Acid / adverse effects
  • Trichloroacetic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Ulcer / chemically induced


  • Trichloroacetic Acid
  • Nitrogen