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Cryotherapy versus salicylic acid for the treatment of plantar warts (verrucae): a randomised controlled trial

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d3271 (Published 07 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3271

'Not Cryotherapy'

Cockayne and colleagues compared a 'gentle freeze' with liquid
nitrogen using a spray or probe with salicyclic acid in the treatment of
plantar warts. This haphazard application of a liquid nitrogen cannot be
considered Cryotherapy. One of the problems with 'Cryotherapy' is that no
specific training is required before using the equipment - and poor
practice and technique - as appears to have been encouraged in this study-
are tolerated. The parameters for delivering cryotherapy in a reliable
and reproducible manner are well-defined and should have formed the basis
of the study. As it stands, the only conclusion can be that uncontrolled
freezing of plantar warts in a variety of health settings is no more
effective than patient administered salicylic acid. This says more about
the clinics than the techniques.

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 June 2011
Richard J Motley
Dermatologist
Welsh Institute of Dermatology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff CF14 4XW