February 2015

Dermatologists, Imiquimod, and Treatment of Molluscum Contagiosum in ChildrenRighting Wrongs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Kaiser Permanente, Pleasanton, California

Copyright 2015 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(2):125-126. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.3335

“Half of what we’re teaching you is wrong,” one of my medical school deans would often say. “The problem,” he would continue, “is that we don’t know which half.”

The dean was wise. Consider the case of imiquimod, long widely considered beneficial for treatment of molluscum contagiosum. It actually is not, as 2 large randomized clinical trials (RCTs) showed.1,2 The catch is that those 2 RCTs were never published. As a result, physicians—including, especially, dermatologists—continue to prescribe the drug for molluscum contagiosum in children. It’s time we stopped doing that.

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