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Apr 2012

Top-Accessed Article: Cantharidin Revisited

Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(4):454. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.1612

Moed L, Shwayder TA, Chang MW. Cantharidin revisited: a blistering defense of an ancient medicine. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(10):1357-1360.

Moed and colleagues present a comprehensive review of cantharidin. They delineate the historical and folk uses of cantharidin as well as governmental regulatory issues. Although cantharidin lost Food and Drug Administration approval in 1962, it has been proposed for inclusion in the “Bulk Substances List” and may be obtained through compounding pharmacies or proprietary sources. The authors outline the mechanism of action of cantharidin and its dermatologic applications. Although topical treatment with cantharidin rarely results in scarring or systemic intoxication, they note that deaths due to ingestion have been reported. The authors also review the symptoms of and treatment for systemic cantharidin poisoning. With this article, Moed and coauthors offer reassurance that proper in-office application of topical cantharidin remains a safe and valuable therapeutic option for warts and molluscum.

From August 2009 through August of 2010, this article was viewed 2036 times on the Archives of Dermatology Web site.

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Contact Dr Chen at the Department of Dermatology, Wright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine, One Elizabeth Place, Ste 200, Dayton, OH 45417 (