Warts Treatment Bleomycin

When other forms of treatment for warts have failed, some doctors turn to a bleomycin injection to deal with particularly stubborn warts. Bleomycin injections may be used as a treatment for warts located on parts of the body where surgery would be unnecessarily intrusive.

Bleomycin is an anti-cancer drug also known as bleomycin sulfate or blenoxane. It has anti-viral, anti-tumor and anti-bacterial properties. The body doesn’t significantly absorb the small bleomycin dose and so it doesn’t cause common chemotherapy side effects such as hair loss.

Bleomycin is effective in destroying warts as the medication interferes with the wart’s DNA and blood vessels feeding the wart.

Steps Involved with Bleomycin Injection

First, your doctor uses a local anesthetic to numb the area being treated. Then, a very small bleomycin dose is injected into the wart. Doctors use multiple punctures to ensure that the complete wart area is treated.

After treatment with bleomycin, warts develop blood blisters. These blisters fall off in a few weeks, or your doctor may trim them. If the blister doesn’t take the wart with it, additional bleomycin injections may be necessary every three or four weeks until the wart is gone.

Benefits of Bleomycin Injection

When faced with particularly stubborn warts, many doctors turn to bleomycin. Warts that have proven resistant to other treatments often respond well to this practice.

Both the British Journal of Dermatology (1996) and a study published in the Dermatology Online Journal (2003) report a nearly 92 percent cure rate with bleomycin injection as a treatment for warts. The 2003 study compared bleomycin treatment to cryotherapy and found the success rates to be 91.8 percent and 76.1 percent, respectively.

Bleomycin injection is also effective in treating immunocompromised patients, who often have a harder time finding a successful treatment for warts.

Drawbacks to Bleomycin Injection

One of the biggest drawbacks to bleomycin treatment for warts is the cost. If the insurance plan pays for medications, some doctors arrange for patients to purchase their own bleomycin dose, thereby reducing the costs.

Bleomycin injection can be painful, and the following additional unpleasant side effects have been reported:

  • Change in skin color
  • Nail damage
  • Scarring
  • Skin irritation.

In large doses, bleomycin injection can cause cancer in rats. For this reason, doctors usually don’t use bleomycin to treat warts in women who are or might become pregnant.

Resources

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2010). Treatments and drugs.Retrieved June 21, 2010, from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/common-warts/ds00370/dsection=treatments-and-drugs.

Podiatry Today. (2004). Exploring new horizons in treatment. Retrieved June 21, 2010, from: http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/2608 .

Warts Information Center. (2010). Bleomycin treatment for wart removal.Retrieved June 21, 2010, from: http://www.warts.org/bleomycin-treatment.html.

Zapf, M. (n.d.). Bleomycin. Retrieved June 21, 2010, from: http://www.zfootdoc.com/bleomyci.htm.