Acid 'on par with' freezing warts

Salicylic acid, rather than cryotherapy, should be used to treat plantar warts because it is substantially cheaper and both approaches are equally effective, a UK study has concluded.

Researchers from the University of York compared both treatments in 240 patients with a plantar wart deemed suitable for treatment with either salicylic acid or cryotherapy.

The researchers said: 'We found no evidence that cryotherapy is more effective than patient self-treatment with 50% salicylic acid for the treatment of plantar warts.'

They added: 'However, cryotherapy was associated with higher costs per cured patient, which leads to salicylic acid being a more attractive treatment.'

The only salicylic acid preparation the researchers studied was the 50% concentration, which is similar to that used by podiatrists and is often viewed as a second-line treatment.

The researchers said it was therefore possible that cryotherapy is superior to lower concentrations of salicylic acid.

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British Medical Journal

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