Cantharone is extract from beetle juice that is a blistering solution used to treat viral conditions like warts and mollusca. It comes in a suspension and looks just like the over the counter preparations Compound W and Duofilm. It is a ‘blister former’ called an acantholytic and will make a water blister between the epidermis and dermis layers of skin. It will be applied in the office during your appointment. You will be happy to know that Cantharone does not hurt when it is applied to your skin.
A Band-Aid or piece of clear tape will applied after the Cantharone is applied. In 4 hours, peel off the covering and wash the area carefully with soap and water to completely remove the Cantharone. If there is severe stinging or burning before the time is up, you can remove the tape or Band-Aid and wash the area sooner. Several hours after this treatment, the wart and skin around it will become red and swollen. Later on, it may form a blister. CANTHARONE BLISTERS CAN BE UNCOMFORTABLE! You might even have a blood blister. Unfortunately, this is often what it takes to shrink a wart or molluscum.
If your blister doesn’t break on its own, don’t break it. That’s your best protection from infection. If it is uncomfortable, you can puncture it with a sterile pin or needle, or snip it with a sterile scissors, which is a painless procedure. You can sterilize these instruments by holding under a hot flame until they become “red hot.” Don’t peel off the roof of the blister; it will help to prevent any infection. You will get instant relief after the blister is punctured. Be sure to keep the site clean with plain tap water and cover it with antibiotic ointment (e.g. Bacitracin) or plain Vaseline and a Band-Aid. We used to think it was best to keep a wound uncovered to let it “air out” and form a scab, but studies have shown that wounds actually heal quicker the more they are covered and lubricated with ointment. So keep it covered with antibiotic ointment or Vaseline at all times until the wound has completely healed.
You may take Tylenol around the clock for the first day if you are experiencing discomfort. Ice packs applied to the treated area can help reduce swelling and soreness. If you notice significant redness, pain, or oozing of pus from the wound, it may be infected. Call the office if you have any questions or concerns. Please follow the directions in the handout Warts 101 handout if you were given additional treatments for home use. The more diligent you are at home treating the warts, the less treatments you will need at the office. You should wait until the Cantharone blisters resolve before starting up the home treatments again. This can take anywhere from 5-7 days, sometimes longer.
As you are finding out, the wart virus is very resistant to treatment. This is because it hides deep within the thick layers of your skin. There are no treatments available yet that will actually kill the wart virus. The best we can do is to shed the skin cells where the wart virus lives, layer by layer. This usually takes several treatments. The bigger and thicker your wart, the more treatments you will need. The most difficult warts to treat are plantar warts on the bottom of your feet and on the cuticles and under the nails of your fingers and toes.
Sometimes Cantharone treatments fail. In rare cases, the wart will actually spread around the blister and get bigger. Please keep your follow-up appointments so that your doctor can follow your progress and decide if the Cantharone treatments are working.
Cantharone PLUS contains the same active ingredient as Canatharone (0.7% Cantharidin), but it also contains Podophyllin (5%) and Salacylic Acid (30%). It is a much more potent agent and is available by prescription only.
Cantharone is the quickest and most effective way we use to get rid of warts. It requires no application at home and the only thing the patient must do is keep it clean and dry for 24 hours. It usually requires only 1-3 applications. This means weekly office visits for 2-4 times. At this time the blister that is formed by the Cantharone is peeled off and the new skin revealed.
Cantharone Side Effects:
The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
While many times Cantharone does not hurt at all, it can possibly cause a severe pain that will last for several days. It will usually happen within 2-12 hours of application. It may require not walking on the foot or taking pain medications. A severe reaction to this Cantharone will happen approximately in 25% of applications but this is very hard to predict!