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Int J Dermatol. 2012 Feb;51(2):211-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2011.05232.x.

The successful treatment of flat warts with auricular acupuncture.

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Department of Dermatology of Shanghai Eighth People's Hospital, Shanghai, China.



Flat warts are a common presenting complaint in adolescents and adults and may be a cosmetic problem as well. Patients suffering from flat warts are often unsatisfied with conventional medical care because of adverse effects such as intolerable pain, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, or occasionally allergic contact dermatitis. To offset the possibilities of hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, and scar formation, the method of auricular acupuncture was used.


Single-blind method adopted, 60 subjects with flat warts were all outpatients and randomly allocated to a treatment group or a control group, with 30 patients in each group. Thirty subjects in the treatment group were treated with weekly auricular acupuncture for 10 weeks while the other subjects in the control group were treated with 0.1% of tretinoin ointment topically for 10 weeks.


Sixteen subjects in the treatment group (53.33%) recovered fully from flat warts without recurrence during the ensuing six months' follow-up after 10 weeks' surgery compared with only one subject in the control group (3.33%). The therapeutic effect of the treatment group was statistically better than that of the control group by Mann-Whitney U-test with SPSS software (P < 0.01). During the treatment period and the ensuing six months' follow-up, no adverse effects were observed by the investigators or reported by patients.


Our findings suggest that auricular acupuncture may be a viable alternative for the treatment of flat warts. Larger randomized studies are needed to fully evaluate auricular acupuncture against more conventional treatments, and these are planned.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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