Genital Warts Treatment Options
- Determining Your Best Treatment Options
- Chemical Treatments
- Genital Warts Surgery
- FDA Approved Interferon Therapy
The primary goal of genital wart treatment is the removal of the warts. If not removed, the warts can grow larger and more numerous. They can also spread to other areas. Genital warts present on the penis or vagina can spread to the rectal area without contact. In addition, there is evidence
that these warts can become cancerous if left untreated for a long time.
Determining your Best Treatment Options
Several factors may influence your doctor’s choice of genital wart treatment. Is this your first infection with genital warts? Has current treatment failed to get rid of them? Have they reappeared?
There are several methods for treating genital warts. The two most common involve the use of chemical agents or surgery. Your doctor will decide how to remove the warts depending upon the number and size of your warts.
Some treatments for genital warts are aimed only at the wart tissue. These treatments remove the warts by freezing, burning, destroying, cutting or vaporizing them with a laser beam. A recently developed treatment is drug therapy with interferon, a substance that helps the body fight infection. Your body normally produces its own interferon as a natural defense. This therapy is aimed at the cause of the disease and helps eliminate the wart tissue in most people. It is thought that it works best in combination with one of the other treatments. The combined therapy may increase the chance of getting over the virus to 60-90%.
One method of treatment involves freezing genital warts. Another uses acid or podophyllin to burn the warts off chemically. Podophyllin is a caustic liquid that is applied directly to the wart. After several hours the substance is washed off. The treatment may need to be repeated once or twice a week. It shouldn’t be used if you are pregnant. Trichloracetic acid and 5-FU are two other chemicals sometimes used to treat genital warts. These caustic agents cause ulcerations which may be painful and cause scarring.
Genital Warts Surgery
If the warts are more extensive, your doctor may recommend removing them by surgery. Four different surgical methods can be used.
- Topical methods destroy warts by burning/freezing them.
- Electrocautery burns the warts off.
- Laser surgery also burns the warts off with a high-intensity light beam
- Traditional surgery involves cutting the warts off.
A COMBINED TREATMENT APPROACH MAY INCREASE THE CHANCE OF GETTING OVER THE VIRUS (60-90%). OF COURSE, SEVERITY, EXTENT AND SIZE OF LESIONS MAY AFFECT THAT PERCENTAGE.
FDA Approved Interferon Therapy
We have patients come from all over the country to receive effective genital and anal wart treatments including the use of the FDA approved medication, Intron® A (Interferon alfa-2b).
Intron® A is a protein product containing genetically engineered DNA technology that comes in the form of injections. It works by helping the human body produce the substance to fight viral infections. Instead of just removing the warts, this method works by bolstering the body’s immune defenses, killing the virus, and destroying the warty tissue.
Patients whose lesions were treated with Intron® A showed improvement within 2-4 weeks after the start of treatment. Maximum response was noted between 4-8 weeks of the initial treatment.
Usually 2-3 injections a week are needed for 3-8 weeks since the interferon levels need to build up in the wart to be effective. It works best in combination with other treatments and is usually performed in the office.
We have had very good results with a combination of interferon injections and/or Aldera cream before or after the surgical removal of the lesions.
An example would be Interferon injections and/or Aldera cream for 3-4 weeks before surgery and 3-4 weeks after the surgery. The Interferon shots can be done by a family member or self-injected by the patient at home.
In order to stop warts from recurring, it’s important for patients to adhere to best prevention practices.
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