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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Warts and Plantar Warts - Medications

If you decide to treat your warts, both nonprescription and prescription medicines are available.

Warts: Should I Treat Warts?

Nonprescription medicines

Nonprescription medicines include:

  • Salicylic acid, which softens the skin layers that form a wart so that they can be rubbed off. Salicylic acid formulas include Compound W and Occlusal.

Prescription medicines

Medicines that your doctor may use or prescribe for you include:

  • Retinoid cream (Avita, Retin-A). It disrupts the wart's skin cell growth.
  • Cantharidin (Cantharone, Cantharone Plus). This medicine causes the skin under the wart to blister, lifting the wart off the skin. This medicine is applied to the wart at your doctor's office.
  • Immunotherapy medicines, which help your body's immune system fight viruses, including the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes warts. These medicines may include imiquimod, contact sensitizers, and interferon.
  • Bleomycin injection, which destroys the skin containing the wart. But bleomycin isn't often used, because it is painful during and after the injection.

What to think about

Other medicines used for warts include 5-fluorouracil, which is more often used on genital warts, and cimetidine. Cimetidine can be taken by mouth (orally) or as an injection.

As with any medicine, talk to your doctor before using a wart medicine if you are or may be pregnant. Some wart medicines may cause birth defects.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 26, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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