Warts Treatment Cantharidin

Cantharidin, sometimes called the beetle juice treatment for warts, is a treatment for warts made from a chemical produced by blister beetles. Cantharidin wart treatment is most often used when warts have not responded to treatment with salicylic acid or cryotherapy.

The Cantharidin Treatment Process

Even though it’s derived from little bugs, cantharidin is a powerful, potentially toxic chemical, and cantharidin treatment must be provided by a physician. Your doctor will:

  • Apply cantharidin to your warts
  • Allow it to dry
  • Cover your treated warts with non-porous tape.

You should keep the tape on your warts for a minimum of four, and no more than 24, hours. A blister will form, and when the blister dries, it removes the wart. At a follow-up visit with your physician, she will remove the dead skin and the warts and make sure that the warts are completely gone. If they’re not, another round of cantharidin wart treatment may be necessary.

Advantages of Cantharidin for Warts

Cantharidin is a strong chemical and can often succeed where another treatment for warts has failed. In addition, cantharidin treatment does not leave any scars.

Applying cantharidin for warts is usually painless, and often does not require scraping or cutting the area around the warts. For these reasons, cantharidin wart treatment can be recommended for children.

Side Effects of Cantharidin Wart Treatment

You might notice some symptoms within a few hours after beginning cantharidin wart treatment, such as:

  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Tenderness
  • Tingling.

The blister that forms as a result of cantharidin treatment can be quite painful, with the treated area feeling sore, swollen and uncomfortable for up to a week. Some people, particularly those with fair skin, may be more sensitive to cantharidin treatment than others, and doctors recommend avoiding alcoholic beverages for several hours after treatment.

If your blisters are particularly painful, your physician may recommend:

  • Soaking the affected area in cold water
  • Taking a mild analgesic for pain
  • Using ice packs to reduce the swelling.

Do not try to pop your blister once it’s formed; this could cause an infection.

Satellite warts may develop around the area where your first wart formed, but these can be dealt with through additional cantharidin treatment. Pigmentation, or a change in skin color, is a rare side effect of using cantharidin for warts.

If you develop a fever after cantharidin wart treatment, call your doctor immediately.

If you have diabetes or other problems with your circulatory system, you should not pursue cantharidin wart treatment.


Lost in Arizona. (n.d). Cantharidin treatment. Retrieved June 13, 2010, from: http://www.ehow.com/about_5240771_cantharidin-treatment.html.

Rea, C. (2008). Cantharidin for wart treatment. Retrieved June 13, 2010, from: https://members.kaiserpermanente.org/kpweb/healthency.do?hwid=hw61525.

RxMed. (n.d.). Canthacur. Retrieved June 13, 2010, from: http://www.rxmed.com/b.main/b2.pharmaceutical/b2.1.monographs/CPS- Monographs/CPS- (General Monographs- C)/CANTHACUR.html.

Warts Information Center. (2010). Cantharidin wart removal. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from: http://www.warts.org/cantharidin-wart-removal.html.