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Cantharidin Treatment

Primarily used to treat warts and molluscum contagiosum, Cantharidin is a chemical agent, originally derived from the green blister beetle, that causes blistering on the skin. It is often combined with podophyllin (an extract of the mayapple plant) and salicylic acid, to make Cantharidin PS.

Cantharidin Treatment


How is Cantharidin applied?

As with all treatments for warts and molluscum contagiosum, Cantharidin and Cantharidin PS are applied in the Janiga MDs office and require anywhere from 6-10 treatments done every 3-4 weeks to achieve clearance of the lesions.

On very thick lesions, the Cantharidin PS may be covered with tape, which prevents it from rubbing off, making it more potent. The longer that Cantharidin and Cantharidin PS are left on the skin, the bigger the blister will be.

It is best to carefully follow Dr. Jennifer Janiga’s instructions as to how long to leave the medication on, and when to wash off the Cantharidin with soap and water when the treatment time has ended.

Are there Cantharidin treatment side effects?

Side effects of Cantharidin and Cantharidin PS treatments include tingling, itching, or burning within a few hours of applying it to the skin, as well as tender skin for two to six days, with some blistering and/or dark or light spots on the skin. Though not a common outcome, some scarring may occur.

When and why would Cantharidin be used on warts or molluscum contagiosum?

Cantharidin treatments are less painful than other types of treatment so they are commonly used in children and are sometimes used if other options such as salicylic acid or freezing a wart or molluscum contagiousm with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) have not successfully achieved the desired result. Please discuss all of your concerns with Dr. Jennifer Janiga during your initial assessment prior to treatment.

Are Cantharidin treatments available at your Reno office?

Yes. Appointment length varies, depending on the number of treated areas, but is usually between 15 and 20 minutes in length.

For more information, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Janiga for wart treatments with Cantharidin in our Reno dermatology offices, please send us an email or call 775-398-4600.

Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD

Dr. Janiga enjoys taking care of both adults and children. Her extensive training and years of experience in medical dermatology, lasers, and cosmetic procedures allows her to treat her patients with the comprehensive attention they deserve.

Dr. Janiga listens attentively to what patients have to say, and works with them in planning the right course of action on an individual basis. Honest talk, humility and a fresh perspective paired with years of experience and education all contribute to the effectiveness of her straightforward care.