Sam Gibbs and colleagues reviewed 50 trials of local treatment for cutaneous warts. Much of the evidence was of poor quality.
Simple topical treatments containing salicylic acid seemed to be effective and safe, but no clear evidence was found that any of the other treatments have a particular advantage of either higher cure rates or fewer side effects, say the authors.
Although it is widely believed that cryotherapy may succeed when topical salicylic acid has failed, there was no clear evidence to support this, they add. Indeed, some evidence shows that at best cryotherapy is only equal in efficacy to topical salicylic acid.
Photodynamic therapy, pulsed dye lasers and immunotherapy may, the authors say, hold promise for the future.