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Article
May 1958

Treatment of Warts with Cantharidin

Author Affiliations

Philadelphia

From the Department of Dermatology (Donald M. Pillsbury, M.D., Director), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Derm. 1958;77(5):508-511. doi:10.1001/archderm.1958.01560050014003
Abstract

Warts are viral tumors of the epidermis. They may be destroyed by a great variety of physical and chemical means; while none is perfect, most are useful. Because of the special ability of cantharidin to disorganize epidermal cells, we decided to explore its use as a chemotherapeutic agent in warts.

Materials and Methods

Cantharides is dried, powdered blister beetle. Cantharidin is its purified active ingredient.* Its primary cutaneous effect is the separation (acantholysis) and death of epidermal cells.1

For topical treatment, cantharidin is prepared as a 0.7% solution in equal parts of acetone and flexible collodion U. S. P. The cantharidin is first dissolved in acetone. The solution should be kept in a tightly stoppered bottle. The kind which has a glass rod fixed to the cap is convenient for applying the solution. Some degree of evaporation with usage is inevitable but ordinarily may be disregarded, since

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