What's the best way to get rid of warts? Freeze 'em? Sizzle them with acid? Or just wait for them to go away? (They often do.) Because warts are not exactly life-threatening, perhaps it's not surprising that their eradication has not been at the top of the medical establishment's research agenda.
But a study just published in the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal (CMAJ) did address the issue. Its investigation of 240 Dutch people with warts found that cryotherapy (in which warts are frozen in the doctor's office with the use of liquid nitrogen) worked better than either an application of a 40% solution of salicylic acid or a wait-and-see approach.
After 13 weeks, warts were gone in 39% of the cryotherapy group, 24% of the salicylic acid group and 16% for the wait-and-see group.
The results did depend, however, on the type of wart a person had. There was no statistical difference between the three types of management in the case of plantar warts -- ones on the feet. In each case (even the wait-and-see case) disappearance of the wart was seen in about 30% of cases.
Common warts -- ones on places on the body other than the foot, commonly on the hands -- responded better to the freezing treatment -- 49%, versus 15% for the acid group and 8% for the wait-and-see group.
You can read the entire study.
And, if you're interested in learning more about warts, check out a couple of wart-related items by our Chicago Tribune colleague Julie Deardorff -- one of a man covered with treelike warts and another (say it's not so!) of a study that found duct tape didn't eradicate warts.
--Rosie Mestel / Los Angeles Times
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