September 15, 2010

Just Add Liquid Nitrogen to Subtract Warts

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The best thing to wake up to in the morning is breakfast in bed.  The worst: a big, distracting wart that has made its home on your body.  There are plenty of great treatments to get rid of those pesky protruders, but a recent study showed cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen to be the most effective.

Warts are present in up to one-third of primary school children.  About 6 percent of children and 2 percent of the general public seek help from their family physician each year regarding problems with warts.  Hopefully the 94 percent of children -- or at least their parents -- and 98 percent of the general public get a chance to read this article.

A randomized controlled trial looked at 240 participants aged 4 to 79 in the Netherlands.  Each patient was assigned to 1 of 3 groups.  The first being cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen every two weeks.  The second had patients use a daily self-application of salicylic acid.  The last approached the old wait-and-see routine.

If the wart was no longer visible, with skin color and lines re-established, and could no longer be felt, it was considered cured.  Cure rates for patients with common warts with cryothe4rapy were 49 percent, 15 percent in the salicylic acid group and only 8 percent for the wait-and-see group.  

"Despite the fact that cryotherapy caused more frequent and more severe side effects than salicylic acid, patients were most satisfied when treated with cryotherapy, which Dr. Sjoerd Bruggink, who co-authored the study, was quoted as saying.

"Although earlier evidence favoured salicylic acid application above cryotherapy, the present randomized controlled trial is the first that provides evidence to support the use of cryotherapy above salicylic acid, however, for common warts only," concluded Bruggink.

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), September 2010