Which topical agents are effective in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum?

Updated: Aug 09, 2018
  • Author: Ashish C Bhatia, MD, FAAD, FACMS; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Clinical success has been reported with the use of the following topical agents, which may act as irritants, stimulating an immunologic response:

  • Cantharidin: Several studies report that cantharidin, a chemovesicant that has been used in combination with imiquimod, is effective in treating molluscum contagiosum; to test the patient's response to therapy, treat only a few lesions on the initial visit. [34]

  • Tretinoin - This agent has reportedly been successful in the treatment of small molluscum contagiosum lesions

  • Bichloracetic acid

  • Trichloroacetic acid

  • Salicylic acid

  • Lactic acid

  • Glycolic acid

  • Silver nitrate

  • Potassium hydroxide

  • Dilute povidone iodine

Tretinoin and cantharidin may be dispensed to the patient with application instructions and close follow-up, although some recommend application in the office. Bichloracetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, potassium hydroxide, and silver nitrate must be applied in the office by the physician. [35]


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