(HealthDay News) — Oral isotretinoin shows a better and earlier response than topical isotretinoin for the treatment of plane warts, according to a small study published online Sept. 13 in the International Journal of Dermatology.

Gagan J. Kaur, MD, from the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College in Faridkot, India, and colleagues randomized patients with plane warts to treatment with either oral isotretinoin capsules (0.5 mg/kg/day; 16 patients) or topical isotretinoin (0.05% in gel formulation once daily at night; 13 patients). Treatment continued for 3 months or until there was complete clearance of lesions.

The researchers found that 11 of 16 patients (69%) had complete remission with oral treatment and 5 (31%) had partial remission. For those treated with topical treatment, 5 of 13 patients (38%) had complete remission and 6 (46%) had partial remission. Two patients treated topically had no remission. The difference in remission was statistically significant between the two groups (P <.0001). With oral treatment, the most common side effect was cheilitis. With topical treatment, 5 patients dropped out because of severe erythema and scaling.

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“Oral isotretinoin should definitely be given a trial, particularly in cases of multiple facial warts, before trying various destructive procedures,” the authors write.

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  1. Kaur GJ, Brar BK, Kumar S, et al. Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of oral isotretinoin versus topical isotretinoin in the treatment of plane warts: a randomized open trial. Int J Dermatol. 2017 Sep 13. doi: 10.1111/ijd.13727