GENITAL WARTS TREATMENT — KEY FACTS
GENITAL WARTS TREATMENT — KEY FACTS
About genital warts treatment
We have two different treatments for genital warts. You can choose to use podophyllotoxin, either in a cream or liquid form, or you could try a cream containing imiquimod.
Each of these is applied directly to the warts.
There are some types of warts that we can’t offer treatment for online. You’ll need to contact your sexual health clinic if you need to treat warts inside the vagina, anus or pee hole or if you’re suffering from large clusters of hard warts.
Please upload three photos of your genital warts so that we can check the treatments we offer are right for you.
How treatment for genital warts works
Aldara is a cream that contains imiquimod. This stimulates your immune system to fight HPV and get rid of the warts.
The other treatments we offer work in a different way. Condyline and Warticon both contain a plant extract called podophyllotoxin. This penetrates the warts and stops the cells from dividing so the warts eventually die. Condyline comes in a solution that you apply with an applicator and Warticon is a cream.
It’s not guaranteed that you’ll clear the virus even with these treatments and unfortunately it’s common for the warts to recur.
How do I use the treatments?
If we prescribe Aldara, it comes as a cream in small sachets. You’ll apply it three times a week directly to the warts and leave it on for 6-10 hours each time.
For the podophyllotoxin medicines, you’ll apply them to each wart, twice daily for three consecutive days. Then you’ll have a break for four days, before repeating the cycle for a total of four weeks. With Condyline, you’ll apply the solution using a plastic applicator. Warticon comes as a cream.
What are the side effects?
Side effects vary between treatments but with all three there’s a chance of skin irritation, burning or ulceration. You can reduce these side effects by applying petroleum jelly to the skin around the warts.
With Aldara, you might also experience fatigue or mild flu-like symptoms.
For the full list of side effects and how to take or use the treatments, it’s important to read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.
How long does it take for the warts to go?
You should find your warts disappear after about four weeks of treatment but it can take longer. With Aldara it can take up to 16 weeks.
It can take longer than average if you have lots of warts, warts around your anus, or if you smoke.
Will the warts come back?
It’s quite common for the warts to come back when you’ve used wart remedies, because sometimes there’s still some virus in the skin. If they’re going to recur, it will usually be in the first three months.
If you smoke or your immune system isn’t working at full strength, you’re more likely to have them come back.
Most people will get rid of their warts eventually.
Important safety information
It’s important that you tell us which other medicines you’re taking — whether they’re prescription or medicines you’ve bought without a prescription. You must also tell us about any other health conditions you have. We need to know so that we only prescribe genital warts treatment if it’s suitable for you.
Do not use Aldara cream for more than 16 weeks.
Are there any other treatment options?
Other treatment options for genital warts include:
- Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy
- Laser treatment
- Treatment with Trichloroacetic Acid.
These treatments can be arranged through your local sexual health clinic.
Keeping you safe
If you do not feel safe, are experiencing abuse or control, or have experienced this in the past, please find support below or send us a message:
- Ask for ANI at your local Boots pharmacy
- Contact National Domestic Abuse helpline 24/7 on 0808 2000 247 (Women)
- Contact Men’s Advice Line mensadviceline.org.uk on 0808 8010 327 (Men)
- Look at www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/abuse/
- Emergency situation dial 999, speak, cough or tap, then speak or press 55 when through to the police
Page last reviewed by: Dr. Christina Hennessey 21/06/2021