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Genital Warts

Current and Future Management Options


Genital warts are a cosmetic nuisance. They are caused by low-risk human papillomavirus types, have no oncogenic potential and are not linked to cervical cancer. However, they often cause significant psychological morbidity. Treatments are aimed at eradicating the unsightly lesions and stimulating the immune system to generate clearance and prevent recurrence. Commonly used physical treatment methods include cryotherapy, trichloroacetic acid, laser, and electrocautery. However, many patients respond extremely well to home therapies with either podophyllotoxin or imiquimod. Patients prefer the comfort and dignity of home treatment, and this should be the first-line of treatment for the majority of patients. A routine screen for sexually transmitted infections is appropriate in most cases. Detailed explanation and reassurance are of paramount importance in reducing the psychological distress associated with this unpleasant genital condition.

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Dr O’Mahony has received lecture fees from Steifel — manufacturers of Warticon (podophyllotoxin) and 3M Pharmaceuticals — manufacturers of Aldara (imiquimod).

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Correspondence to Colm O’Mahony.

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O’Mahony, C. Genital Warts. Am J Clin Dermatol 6, 239–243 (2005).

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  • Cervical Cancer
  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia
  • Imiquimod
  • Genital Wart
  • Podophyllotoxin