Cryotherapy most effective for common warts

September 21, 2010

Results of a recent Dutch study suggest that cryotherapy outperforms topical salicylic acid in treating common warts, MedPageToday reports.

Leiden, Netherlands - Results of a recent Dutch study suggest that cryotherapy outperforms topical salicylic acid in treating common warts, MedPageToday reports.

Researchers from Leiden University here conducted an unblinded trial comparing cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen, topical application of salicylic acid, and a wait-and-see approach in 250 patients from 30 primary care facilities.

At 13 weeks, the cure rate for cryotherapy was 39 percent, compared with a 24 percent cure rate for salicylic acid. Those in the wait-and-see group, who were permitted to use over-the-counter products only, had a cure rate of 16 percent.

Patient satisfaction was much higher among patients who had cryotherapy, at 69 percent, compared with 24 percent for salicylic acid and 22 percent in the wait-and-see group.

Results for plantar warts were different, however. Cure rates were the same among the three treatments in patients with plantar warts. Overall, cure rates were lower among patients who had had the warts for six months or longer and among those age 12 and older.
“Regardless of treatment, children with plantar warts showed relatively high cure rates (about 50 percent), whereas plantar warts in adolescents and adults were highly persistent (cure rates of about 5 percent),” the researchers wrote.

“These findings suggest that the effect of active treatments on plantar warts is delayed or that more aggressive treatment is needed because of the callosity overlying the warts.”