When a wart creeps up on your body, it’s usually not hard to miss. They can appear anywhere from your hands to your feet to your face. The size can vary greatly, from tiny to large, and some are easier to treat while others seem like you’ll need a nuclear bomb to get rid of it. Treatment for warts also comes with a vast range of options. There’s cryotherapy, or the process of freezing warts to kill them; excision, where a doctor will cut the wart out of your skin; and even homeopathic remedies like tea tree oil and aloe vera. But what if you don’t want to go the topical route? What if you don’t want to undergo a procedure of any kind. Fortunately, there is another way: Oral medications.
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How Oral Wart Medication Works
Oral medications are medicines you take by mouth, either in a capsule, tablet, or liquid form. These treat anything from the common cold to cancer. The medicating agent is absorbed either through the mucous glands in your mouth or by your stomach, eventually entering the bloodstream where they’re delivered to their targeted area of the body.
HPV is the virus that causes warts in the human body. It comes in many different strains and can be contracted through tiny breaks in the skin. The most common places you’ll find HPV lurking are pool decks, showers, locker rooms, or anywhere moist and used by multiple people. There isn’t a known cure for HPV, meaning that no medication can magically make it disappear from your body. However, there are oral medications that can help your body neutralize it so that it stays inactive and doesn’t cause warts. Although it’s up for argument, there are even reports of medications helping people’s immune system destroy the virus completely.
One product on the market for over the counter wart removal is wart pads. These bandages have salicylic acid built into them to kill off your wart while you work or sleep. For more information on wart pads, go here.
Treating warts on your hands
Treatment for warts is pretty much the same, regardless of where the wart is located. The one exception to this is genital warts and warts in the mouth or throat, which are handled differently.
If you find a wart on your hand, there are steps you should take:
- Decide if you want to treat or if you want to wait it out and see if the wart will go away on its own.
- If you decide on treatment, go through your options and pick one.
- Most likely, you’ll have to wait until you’ve tried basic treatment before a doctor will prescribe an oral medication. Salicylic acid, at-home freezing kits, and simple medical procedures are all easy to get and have been shown to produce good results.
- If regular treatment isn’t working for you, talk to your physician about trying oral medication.
Can you use oral medication on genital warts?
The answer is yes, you can use oral medication for warts. Because of the very sensitive nature of the genitals, you have to be careful with the things you put on them. The skin there has an abundance of delicate nerve endings, and if damaged, there can be permanent nerve damage or scarring.
HPV can’t be killed by antibiotics, which can easily destroy bacteria. Instead, a virus has to be killed by antibodies, which are the particles in your body that your immune system creates to kill a virus. Sometimes your body makes them easily, like when you have a cold. Sometimes your body can’t seem to create them at all, like is the case with HIV, polio, and HPV.
Your doctor may want to try topical medication first, like Aldara cream or Podofilox, and perhaps even some careful cryotherapy. It’s also possible they’ll go straight to oral medications. The advantage of this is that you can get rid of your genital warts without disturbing any of the genital skin.
One medication common for a physician to use is a powerful liquid called Trichloroacetic acid. This is applied by your doctor in an office setting and has been shown to produce powerful wart-killing results. Go here for further details on Trichloroacetic acid wart removal.
The common wart
The common wart is just another name for the basic wart you find on most areas of the body.
Areas you can find them include:
- Tops of your feet.
When HPV gets into your skin, it travels through your body and settles into the upper layer of epithelial cells in your skin, inactive and waiting. Periodically, the virus will activate, replicating until it grows enough wart cells that they break out of the skin, producing a visible wart. Size is dependent on when the virus decides to stop replicating. Sometimes it stops quickly, only producing a small wart, and sometimes it seems like it goes on forever, creating a large wart in your skin.
What Are Some Oral Medications I Can Use?
It can be hard to find an oral medication to use for your warts, as viruses are hard to treat with medication.
But there are definitely options:
- Zinc Sulphate: Zinc has been used as an immunomodulator for years to treat various ailments, including dermatological issues. It’s been found that many people with warts have low blood levels of zinc and could benefit from a supplement.
- Echinacea, Elderberry, and Vitamin C: These natural compounds have been shown to boost your immune system. One way they help is to prevent the virus itself from activating, meaning that it will stay dormant and won’t produce any warts. The supplements also amp up your body’s immune response, which can sometimes target and kill the virus completely.
- L-Lysine: This supplement has been used for wart treatment for years. It works as an antiviral and seems to inhibit viral replication, meaning that HPV can linger, but it can’t replicate and turn into a wart.
- Tagamet: Also known as Cimetidine, this drug is actually intended to use for heartburn, but has shown to get rid of stubborn warts as well. It seems that Tagamet increases activity of certain areas of the immune system that can help get rid of warts.
There have been many instances in medicine where something that was intended for one thing ended up being used for another. Such is the case with Tagamet, which is starting to be used as wart therapy instead of just for reflux. For more details on Tagamet for warts, go here.
If you’re pregnant, make sure to discuss any kind of new medication with your doctor, including supplements. Even though vitamins, minerals, and herbs may seem harmless, there are some that can have bad side effects for a growing baby.
Along with immune-boosting vitamins, there are prescription antivirals, which is a drug specifically designed to combat a virus. This is difficult, as viruses are hard to kill.
HPV is one of the instances where the human body has a hard time figuring out how to kill it on its own. This is where antivirals become useful. All three of these drugs work to inhibit DNA synthesis of HPV, making it unable to replicate. The virus then sits in the skin, inactive and not able to create a wart.
These are most commonly used for persistent genital warts, but can be used on common and plantar warts as well:
- Acyclovir: This antiviral used to only be available in topical form, but is now given as both topical and in pill form. It is the only antiviral available intravenously.
- Valacyclovir: This drug is a prodrug for Acyclovir. What that means is that your body will convert it into Acyclovir after ingestion. There is better absorption of the drug, meaning that you have to take the pills less often than with regular Acyclovir.
- Famciclovir: This is also a prodrug, and is converted into the antiviral known as Penciclovir after ingestion. It’s a long-lasting drug, is well-absorbed, and so can be taken much less often with the same results.
So the next time you have a wart, consider which treatment you want to go with. If oral medications seem like a good choice for you, talk to your doctor and ask about either an oral prescription or supplements, and what the best one for you would be. They’re easy and pain-free, and best of all, they’re shown to work.
You can find further details of Warts treatment here.