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Beetle juice: a guide for the use of cantharidin in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum



Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is an increasingly common cutaneous viral infection that primarily affects the pediatric population. MC lesions are benign, and most cases resolve within 6–9 months. Nonetheless, many patients and their parents seek active treatment of MC because of local pain, pruritus, embarrassment due to the lesions, or desire to reduce transmission to siblings. Individuals with atopic dermatitis are predisposed to severe and protracted MC, and immunocompromised patients may never clear the infection without treatment. Despite the availability of various therapies, no clear best treatment for MC has emerged. Cantharidin is a commonly used and effective therapy for MC that is generally well tolerated and has high rates of parental satisfaction. In this review, current literature regarding MC is summarized and particular focus is placed on the use of cantharidin for treating MC, including a review of the literature and detailed instructions for its use.