- A systematic review suggests that topical cantharidin yields significant clearance of warts and variable clearance for molluscum contagiosum.
Why this matters
- Data lend support to routine use of topical cantharidin for warts, particularly in combination with podophyllotoxin and salicylic acid.
- Topical cantharidin was associated with clearance rates ranging between 15.4% and 100% for molluscum contagiosum.
- Topical cantharidin monotherapy was associated with clearance rates ranging between 64% and 90.8%.
- Topical cantharidin was associated with clearance rates ranging between 81% and 100% for plantar warts when combined with podophyllotoxin and salicylic acid.
- The most common adverse events were pain (7%-85.7%), blistering (10%-100%), and hyper/hypopigmentation (1.8%-53.3%).
- 20 studies assessing topical cantharidin treatment of molluscum contagiosum or warts were reviewed (1752 patients overall).
- Funding: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Dermatology Foundation.
- Overall low level of evidence.