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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Salicylic Acid Preparations for Treating Warts
Mild salicylic acid preparations are available as nonprescription
paints, creams, or plaster patches for home treatment.
Salicylic acid may work even better if you remove the dead skin from the top of the wart. Soak the wart with water to soften it. Then use a pumice stone, nail file, or stiff brush to rub off the top layer of skin. (Don't use the stone, file, or brush for anything else.) When you put on the medicine, it will penetrate deeper into the wart tissue.
Salicylic acid is the home treatment most often used for
Nonprescription salicylic acid is as effective as or more effective
than other treatments, with minimal risk and pain.1
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Quit using this medicine and call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
Avoid getting salicylic acid on the skin around your wart. Salicylic acid should touch only the wart.
treatment causes the area to become too tender, stop using the medicine for 2
to 3 days.
If your warts do not go away after 2 to 3 months of treatment
with salicylic acid, or if they come back, consider a stronger preparation, another
type of treatment, or no treatment.
contains living wart virus, so dispose of the dead skin carefully. The pumice stone, brush, or file will also have living wart virus on it. Don't use these items for any other purpose, or you may spread the virus.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Gibbs S, Harvey I (2006). Topical treatments for
cutaneous warts. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Loo SK, Tang WY (2009). Warts (non-genital), search
date June 2008. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
September 7, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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