What Is It?
Cantharone is a blistering solution used to treat viral conditions like warts and mollusca. It will be applied in the office during your appointment. You will be happy to know that Cantharone does not hurt when it is applied to your skin. A Band-Aid or piece of clear tape will applied after the Cantharone is applied. In 4 hours, peel off the covering and wash the area carefully with soap and water to completely remove the Cantharone. If there is severe stinging or burning before the time is up, you can remove the tape or Band-Aid and wash the area sooner.
Several hours after this treatment, the wart and skin around it will become red and swollen. Later on, it may form a blister. CANTHARONE BLISTERS CAN BE UNCOMFORTABLE! You might even have a blood blister. Unfortunately, this is often what it takes to shrink a wart or molluscum. If your blister doesnąt break on its own, donąt break it‹thatąs your best protection from infection. If it is uncomfortable, you can puncture it with a sterile pin or needle, or snip it with a sterile scissors, which is a painless procedure. You can sterilize these instruments by holding under a hot flame until they become "red hot." Donąt peel off the roof of the blister; it will help to prevent any infection. You will get instant relief after the blister is punctured. Be sure to keep the site clean with plain tap water and cover it with antibiotic ointment (e.g. Bacitracin) or plain Vaseline and a Band-Aid. We used to think it was best to keep a wound uncovered to let it "air out" and form a scab, but studies have shown that wounds actually heal quicker the more they are covered and lubricated with ointment. So keep it covered with antibiotic ointment or Vaseline at all times until the wound has completely healed.
You may take Tylenol around the clock for the first day if you are experiencing discomfort. Ice packs applied to the treated area can help reduce swelling and soreness. If you notice significant redness, pain, or oozing of pus from the wound, it may be infected. Call the office if you have any questions or concerns.
Please follow the directions in the handout Warts 101 handout if you were given additional treatments for home use. The more diligent you are at home treating the warts, the less treatments you will need at the office. You should wait until the Cantharone blisters resolve before starting up the home treatments again. This can take anywhere from 5-7 days, sometimes longer.
As you are finding out, the wart virus is very resistant to treatment. This is because it hides deep within the thick layers of your skin. There are no treatments available yet that will actually kill the wart virus. The best we can do is to shed the skin cells where the wart virus lives, layer by layer. This usually takes several treatments. The bigger and thicker your wart, the more treatments you will need. The most difficult warts to treat are plantar warts on the bottom of your feet and on the cuticles and under the nails of your fingers and toes.
Sometimes Cantharone treatments fail. In rare cases, the wart will actually spread around the blister and get bigger. Please keep your follow-up appointments so that your doctor can follow your progress and decide if the Cantharone treatments are working.
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