January 17, 2014
FDA Warns Of Flammable Wart Removers
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The agency based its warning on 14 complaints it has received since 2009 from consumers who had accidentally started fires and burned themselves or objects in their homes while using cryogenic wart removers – a mixture of liquid dimethyl ether and propane that removes warts by freezing them off the skin.
Ten of the complaints involved people who had suffered singed hair, blisters, burns or skin rashes, wrote FDA nurse consultant Karen Nast in a consumer update posted on the agency’s website.
In the majority of the 14 cases reported to the FDA, the fires began when users released the product from its pressurized dispenser. In three cases, a candle was nearby, although no heat source was identified in the remaining cases.
"This is extremely concerning, especially because people may not be aware that everyday household items like curling irons and straight irons can be hot enough to be an ignition source for these products," Nast said, adding that the labels for home wart removal products clearly state the products are flammable and should be kept away from fire, cigarettes and other heat sources.
Nast said that while the FDA has only received 14 reports of fires linked to cryogenic treatments, such occurrences are often under-reported, and asked consumers to tell the FDA about similar experiences.
"It's important for us to know when and how problems like this happen," she said. Device-related problems can be reported through the FDA's MedWatch alert system.
Warts are growths caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can often disappear on their own without treatment, said FDA dermatologist Markham Luke, MD. However, anyone using a home cryogenic product should make sure to closely follow the directions printed on the label, he said.
For more persistent or bothersome warts, Dr. Luke says patients should consult with a doctor, who can offer a variety of removal techniques.