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Pediatr Ann. 2010 Mar;39(3):124-8, 130. doi: 10.3928/00904481-20100223-03.

Treatment of molluscum contagiosum with cantharidin: a practical approach.

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Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


Molluscum contagiosum is very common. In this article we discuss the use of cantharidin as a treatment option for molluscum contagiosum and give detailed information about distribution sources, how to apply it, and caveats regarding its use.Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral disease of childhood caused by a poxvirus, which presents with small, firm, dome-shaped, umbilicated papules. It is generally benign and self-limited, with spontaneous resolution within 6 months to several years. Watchful waiting can often be an appropriate management strategy; however, some patients either desire or require treatment. Reasons for actively treating molluscum contagiosum may include alleviation of discomfort and itching (particularly in patients where an eczematous eruption - the so-called "molluscum eczema" - is seen in association) or in patients with ongoing atopic dermatitis where more lesions are likely to be present. Other reasons for treatment include limitation of spread to other areas and people, prevention of scarring and superinfection, and elimination of the social stigma of visible lesions. No one treatment is uniformly effective.Treatment options include destructive therapies (curettage, cryotherapy, cantharidin, and keratolytics, among others), immunomodulators (imiquimod, cimetidine, and Candida antigen), and antivirals (cidofovir). In this article we discuss and describe our first-line treatment approach for those molluscum needing treatment - cantharidin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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