Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Warts often go away without treatment. But even if your warts have disappeared or have been removed, you can still harbor HPV and may transmit the virus to others.


Medications to eliminate warts are typically applied directly to the lesion and usually take many applications before they are successful. Examples include:

  • Salicylic acid. Over-the-counter treatments that contain salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. Salicylic acid is for use on common warts. It can cause skin irritation and isn't for use on your face.
  • Imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara). This prescription cream may enhance your immune system's ability to fight HPV. Common side effects of imiquimod include redness and swelling at the application site.
  • Podofilox (Condylox). Another type of topical prescription, podofilox works by destroying genital wart tissue. Podofilox may cause pain and itching where it's applied.
  • Trichloroacetic acid. This chemical treatment burns off genital warts and may cause local irritation.

Surgical and other procedures

If medications don't work, your doctor may suggest one of the following procedures, which physically remove warts by:

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy)
  • Burning with an electrical current (electrocautery)
  • Surgical removal
  • Laser surgery
Sept. 16, 2014