Cryotherapy versus Podophyllin in the Treatment of Genital Wart

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Qaem Hospital, Mashad University of Medical sciences

2 Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Qaem Hospital, Mashhad university of Medical Sciences

3 Assistant of Dermatology, Qaem Hospital, Mashhad university of Medical Sciences

4 Assistant Professor of Medical Statistics Division, Community Medicine Department . Mashhad university of Medical


Introduction: Genital wart is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by human
papiloma virus. Podophyllin is a plant extract, having been traditionally used to treat genital
wart. Podophyllin is an anti- mitotic agent with direct effect on epithelial cells. Liquid
nitrogen is most widely used as cryotherapy agent. Cryotherapy causes cell death, ice
crystals formation in the cell, and cellular components damages. The purpose of this study
was to evaluate the efficacy of podophyllin solution versus liquid nitrogen cryotherapy on
genital warts.
Material and Methods: This clinical trial was performed from Feb 2003 to Dec 2005, on
70 patients with genital wart in Dermatology Clinic, Qaem Hospital. Patients divided into
two groups randomly. Of the total patients, 35 received podophyllin solution and another 35
treated with liquid nitrogen cryotherapy. Study medication was applied once weekly until
the complete clearance of lesion for a maximum duration of 8 weeks. Patients whose warts
cleared completely were observed for up to 10 weeks to determine the recurrence rate.
Result: The mean duration of complete clearance was 3.9 weeks (range 1-7) for
podophyllin and 4.9 weeks (range 1-9) for cryotherapy group (P=0.039). Of podophyllin
and cryotherapy treated patients, whose wart cleared completely and who finished 10 week
follow up period, 26% and 47 % experienced the recurrence of warts, respectively
(P>0.05). Cryotherapy patients experienced a significantly greater number of local
inflammatory reactions than the podophyllin group.
Conclusion: This data indicated that podophyllin solution therapy of genital wart is more
effective, with less recurrence rate and side effects, than liquid nitrogen cryotherapy


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