Bleomycin Treatment for Verrucae


Norman M. Price, MD, 1776 Ygnacio Valley, #202, Walnut Creek, CA 94598


Background.The treatment of verrucae with bleomycin injections has not become a routinely adopted form of therapy in dermatologic practice since its use was originally described in 1980 because of the adverse effects and complications that have been associated with it.

Objectives.The goal of this study was to demonstrate the results and the incidence of adverse effects from the use of bleomycin in clinical practice in a retrospective study of patients presenting with verrucae and to demonstrate the convenience and ease of the methodology that was used in obtaining these results.

Methods.Patients' lesions were injected with bleomycin every 3 to 4 weeks until the lesions had been eliminated or the injections were discontinued because of adverse effects or complications.

Results.There were 211 patients in the study, and 224 lesions were treated. After 1 treatment, 47.6% of the lesions were cleared; another 38.8%were cleared after 2 treatments; and another 9.8% were cleared after 3 treatments. In total, 96% of lesions were cleared after 5 treatments. A small number of temporary adverse effects were noted: 3 patients had local chemical cellulitis, 2 patients had formation of sterile abscesses, 1 patient had postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, and 1 patient had localized pain. No local or systemic complications were observed.

Conclusions.Therapy with intralesional bleomycin is a relatively rapid and convenient form of therapy, compared with other available treatments, from the point of view of both the patient and the physician.