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Paediatr Drugs. 2003;5(8):505-12.

Pediatric molluscum contagiosum: optimal treatment strategies.

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  • 1Pediatric Dermatology, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10025, USA.


Pediatric molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) is a common pox viridae infection that represents a common public health issue. The spread of the virus among children is rapid and easy. The virus produces a number of substances that block immune response formation in the infected host. Despite the benign and self-limited nature of the condition, one-third of children have symptoms from, or secondary reactions to the infection, including pruritus, erythema and, occasionally, inflammation and pain. Patients with pruritus autoinoculate the virus through scratching, thereby exacerbating their conditions. While adults cope well with unanesthetized curettage of lesions, children require less painful therapeutic options. The options for therapy are manifold. Therapy should begin with gentle skin care and antipruritics to prevent symptoms, and to prevent the spread of the disease. Therapies with good efficacy and low risk of pain for the patient include in-office usage of cantharidin and the use of local anesthetics, such as topical lidocaine (lignocaine) preparations in combination with the curettage of visible lesions. Alternatively, cryosurgery can be performed to eradicate lesions in-office. At-home therapeutics are often preferred by parents and children, and include imiquimod, retinoids, and alpha-hydroxy acids. Although a variety of such at-home therapies are available, none are as effective or as rapid acting as in-office therapy. Further research in large clinical trials is required to increase knowledge on prevention, optimal treatment, and long-term outcome with this disease.

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