Chronic heart failure

December 2010


Treating common warts

Options and evidence

Volume 39, No.12, December 2010 Pages 933-937

Lawrence Leung


Nongenital warts are a common condition seen in general practice, affecting patients of all ages. There are many treatment options and patients often self medicate with remedies from folklore or tradition before presenting to their doctor.


This article attempts to summarise the quality of different treatments and to provide recommendations and a quick reference for treating common warts.


Many common warts will resolve spontaneously but others are recalcitrant and often require ongoing treatment beyond first line measures. Without definite guidelines for treating recalcitrant warts, it is important for the general practitioner to consider the available evidence for efficacy and contraindication of the various treatment options.

Nongenital cutaneous warts are commonly seen in general practice with an overall prevalence of 7–10%1 and a peak age of presentation of 12–16 years.1–2 They are most commonly found on the hands and feet but can also be found on the face, eyelids and torso. The causative agent is human papilloma virus (HPV). Without treatment, one-third of cutaneous warts will resolve spontaneously within 3 months and two-thirds within 2 years.3 Myrmecia warts often persist despite repeated treatments and become recalcitrant warts. There is no consensus on the prevalence of, and most effective treatment for, recalcitrant warts.

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