|Type of medicine||A plant extract for removing warts|
|Used for||Anogenital warts|
|Available as||Cream and solution|
Anogenital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can be passed on by close sexual contact. They are small lumps that develop on the genitals and around the anus (back passage). Podophyllotoxin is a topical preparation which is applied directly to the surface of the wart. It works by preventing the wart cells from dividing, which stops them from increasing in number. As the wart cells die, new healthy tissue grows in their place.
Before using podophyllotoxin
To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using podophyllotoxin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to podophyllotoxin.
How to use podophyllotoxin
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of podophyllotoxin you have been given and how to apply it.
- Before you use podophyllotoxin, you should wash and dry the affected area.
- Follow the instructions carefully when you are applying the preparation and do not apply more than the recommended amount.
- You should apply the cream or solution twice daily for three days, followed by four days without treatment. This is repeated four to five times depending on the brand of podophyllotoxin you are using.
- Do not put podophyllotoxin on any area of skin which is raw or bleeding, and be careful to avoid getting it on normal areas of skin around the warts.
- If you are using the lotion, you will be given applicators to use. If you are using the cream, apply it using a fingertip but remember to wash your hands thoroughly after each application.
- If the cream or lotion comes into contact with normal areas of skin, wash the area with water to remove it.
Getting the most from your treatment
- When you have anogenital warts you will usually be advised to have tests to check for other sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor or clinic will be able to arrange this for you.
- Do not have sex soon after you apply the podophyllotoxin to your skin, as it may cause irritation for your partner.
- Sexual contact is not generally recommended while you are treating anogenital warts. You should wait until your warts have gone and your skin has healed. If you do have sex, you must use a condom. It is also commonly advised that you should use condoms when you have sex for a further three months after the warts have gone.
- Never use wart treatments that are sold over the counter in pharmacies to treat your anogenital warts.
Can podophyllotoxin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common podophyllotoxin side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who use this preparation||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Local irritation||This typically occurs on the second or third day of application, and tends to be mild|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store podophyllotoxin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Condyline®,; Manufacturer's PIL, Condyline®, Nycomed UK Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Warticon® Cream,; Manufacturer's PIL, Warticon® Cream, Stiefel, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Warticon® Solution,; Manufacturer's PIL, Warticon® Solution, Stiefel, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2010.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr John Cox