Background Warts are a common chronic skin disorder that can be cosmetically disfiguring and, depending on the location, cause inhibition of function. The presence of dozens of topical and systemic treatments for warts is a testament to the lack of a rapid, simple, uniformly effective, inexpensive, nonscarring, and painless treatment.
Aim The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of 85% formic acid application, an inexpensive therapy, for the treatment of warts.
Methods A placebo-controlled, nonrandomized, open trial was performed in 100 patients with common warts attending Father Muller's Medical College Hospital, Mangalore. Fifty patients received 85% formic acid application and 50 patients received placebo (water) using a topical application/needle puncture technique every other day.
Results Ninety-two per cent of patients who received formic acid application showed complete disappearance of warts after a 3–4-week treatment period, compared to 6% in the placebo group.
Conclusions The results show that 85% formic acid application is a safe, economical, and effective alternative in the treatment of common warts with few side-effects and good compliance. A multicenter trial is needed to examine the efficacy and safety of this treatment.