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What are the creams, gels, and ointments that can be used to treat genital warts?

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Imiquimod cream, podofilox gel, and sinecatechins ointment can be used to treat external genital warts.

Imiquimod is a cream you apply yourself to boost your immune system. You apply imiquimod 5% cream at bedtime, 3 times a week for 16 weeks. You apply imiquimod 3.75% cream every night. With either strength, you should wash the treated area with soap and water 6 to 10 hours after you put it on. You should also avoid sex while imiquimod is on your skin because it can damage condoms and diaphragms.

Podofilox and podophyllin resin are gels designed to kill the warts. After they are applied to the wart, the area needs to air dry before coming in contact with clothing. Podofilox isn’t recommended for warts on the cervix, vagina, or anal canal. It’s also not meant for larger areas. If you use too much or don’t let it air dry, you could spread the gel to other areas and develop side effects. 

Sinecatechins ointment is made from green tea extract. Sinecatechins 15% ointment is applied to warts 3 times a day for up to 16 weeks. You should avoid all sexual contact while the ointment is on your skin.

SOURCES:

CDC: “Genital Warts,” “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Management of Genital Warts,” Dermal Electrosurgical Shave Excision.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Genital Warts: Overview.”

Reviewed by Nivin Todd on April 23, 2019

SOURCES:

CDC: “Genital Warts,” “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Management of Genital Warts,” Dermal Electrosurgical Shave Excision.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Genital Warts: Overview.”

Reviewed by Nivin Todd on April 23, 2019

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When is it best to use creams or ointments to treat genital warts?

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