When you’ve got a wart, what’s the first thing you do? Almost everyone would immediately think about how in the world they’re going to get rid of it, that’s what. Even though warts aren’t usually painful, they can be irritating, unsightly, and just plain gross to see. Fortunately, we live in a day and age when there’s more than a few ways to kill a wart. Surgical excision, cryotherapy, and electrocautery are a few examples of effective wart removal, along with topical creams and ointments. One such cream is called Fluorouracil.

Some Details About Fluorouracil Cream

Cemical formFor years, Fluorouracil cream has been used in the treatment of skin lesions caused by too much sun exposure, called keratoses. It’s also used for skin cancer, namely in superficial basal cell carcinoma. Fluorouracil is considered an antimetabolite, which is a type of medication that kills fast growing cells, like the ones causing cancer. HPV, the virus responsible for warts, makes wart cells grow rapidly, which in turn makes it an excellent candidate for Fluorouracil use.

There are two different strengths of Fluorouracil:

  • Fluorouracil (Efudex) 5% cream.
  • Fluorouracil (Carac) 0.5% cream.
Fluorouracil doesn’t affect any healthy, normal skin.

Along with cream for warts, there’s also ointment available. Ointment can have an even stronger effect and comes in both medicated and natural form. Go here for more details on wart ointment.

Fluorouracil Cream, USP 5%

It’s a killer

The cream’s mechanism when it comes to warts isn’t entirely understood by scientists, but one thing that’s clear is that Fluorouracil is a DNA inhibitor. This means that the medication works to stop the synthesis, or production, of DNA in the cells. Because HPV is a DNA-based virus, the cream seems to stop the virus itself, which in turn stops the warts.

Before and after Fluorouracil cream treatment

As far as results, they’re quick. You can expect a wart to be killed twice as fast as salicylic acid treatments. In fact, the site of the treatment will usually peel and become scaly, because the wart is being killed faster than your body can create new skin. But don’t worry – your body will heal the site and make new, smooth skin to cover it in no time.

Debridement, or the sloughing away of dead skin cells, is something you should do every time you apply Fluorouracil. Before using the cream, soak your wart in warm water, then file down with a nail file or pumice stone. What this does is let the medication go straight into the wart tissue itself instead of having to soak through layers of dead skin first, making it more potent and effective.

How To Use It

Cream usingBecause of how Fluorouracil works, you have to be careful not to let it come in contact with your eyes or mouth. This is especially true with 5% Fluorouracil cream, or Efudex, which is extra potent. Efudex is chemotherapeutic, which means that it’s used in the treatment of cancer. It gives a powerful, fast result in breaking down the HPV virus and subsequently, your wart.

To use, wash and dry your wart, then apply the cream to a cotton swab or the tip of your finger, then rub into the wart. If you’ve used your finger, make sure to thoroughly wash it with soap and water afterward. Next, cover the wart with first aid tape or a band aid to hold in the moisture. Repeat the process twice a day.

When it comes to the weaker concentration of Fluorouracil in the Carac cream, the same method of application is used. Although its .05% medication strength isn’t as potent as Efudex, it still is an excellent wart-killer, but may take slightly longer to take effect.

Talk to your doctor about what strength Fluorouracil to use.

Where To Use It

Plantar wartsAlthough Fluorouracil can be used almost anywhere, it’s more commonly used on plantar warts than common warts on the body. Plantar warts are more stubborn, in a way, in that they seem to take longer to disappear and come back much more frequently than anywhere else on the body. Because they are usually slightly calloused, it’s harder to get medication to penetrate deeply into it, down to the root.

Often, a doctor will be the one to apply the Fluorouracil to genital warts. They’ll be able to see the area in detail much more easily than you can and will ensure the greatest amount of accuracy.

Another option when it comes to genital warts is Aldara cream, or Imiquimod. This prescription acts on the immune system to target the HPV virus itself, and has shown to be quite effective. For more information on Aldara cream for warts, click here.

Side Effects Of Fluorouracil

The after-effects that come with using Fluorouracil are more than those associated with common medications like salicylic acid or natural remedies. They come in two different forms: side effects that manifest through the skin, and side effect you feel throughout your entire body.

Common side effects throughout your body may include:

  • Diarrhea,
  • Nausea,
  • Heartburn.

Side effects that appear at the site of application are more common. These include:

  • Burning,
  • Redness,
  • Dryness,
  • Scaling,
  • Peeling,
  • Slight changes in skin color at the site,
  • Itching.
Always talk to a doctor before treating genital warts. The highly sensitive nature of the skin and nerve endings in this region can result in more severe side effects if damaged. In addition, make sure to always tell your doctor if you’re pregnant before starting any wart treatment, as some medications can cause harm to a growing fetus.

Instead of a band aid or first aid tape, there are adhesive pads you can buy to put over the wart after applying Fluorouracil cream. These not only provide a tight seal, but are soft and comfortable. For more information on wart pads and where to find them, go here.

What to consider when you’re making a decision

Hand with wartsSo it’s time to decide if you’re going to use Fluorouracil or not.

When you’re trying to weigh your options, here’s some things to remember:


  • Can get rid of the wart virus (HPV) itself instead of just the wart.
  • Works fast.
  • Won’t harm the healthy skin surrounding the wart.
  • You can use it at home.


  • More unpleasant side effects.
  • May cost more money, depending on your health care coverage, than over the counter wart medication.

So next time you’re dealing with a wart, look at your options. If Fluorouracil seems like a good choice for you, talk to your doctor and you’ll be on your way to a wart-free body in no time.

You can find further details of Warts treatment here.