Molluscum Contagiosum Facts (cont.)

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What is the treatment for molluscum contagiosum?

For most patients, no treatment is needed because the lesions spontaneously disappear in about six to 12 months, although for a few, it may take up to four years. Discuss any treatment method with a doctor. Cryotherapy (freezing), curettage (cutting out the lesions), and laser therapy also may remove lesions. In addition, creams that include podophyllin, salicylic acid, tretinoin (Retin A, Atralin, Renova, Avita, Altinac), and cantharidin may remove lesions. Physicians may use cimetidine (Tagamet) to treat molluscum contagiosum in small children. A new medication, imiquimod (Aldara), helps to strengthen the skin's immune response and may help to get rid of the lesions in some people. Topical desonide cream (a low-dose corticosteroid) reduces any symptoms that may accompany scratching the nodules.

Are there any home remedies for molluscum contagiosum?

There are a wide range of home remedies available for this disease. People have tried remedies such as apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and elderberry extract. Some are easily available at pharmacies (for example, Zymaderm). Patients should contact their doctor before trying these remedies.

What is the prognosis of molluscum contagiosum?

Most people who get molluscum contagiosum have an excellent prognosis because the infection is usually self-limiting; it mainly affects only the skin and resolves without treatment over about six to 12 months in most people. However, immunosuppressed people have a more guarded prognosis as the disease may persist for years and become widespread on the skin; some people may get secondary bacterial skin infections. Some treatments listed above (cryotherapy, curettage, laser, and some chemical treatments) may leave small scars.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2014