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What is cantharidin and how does it remove warts?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Cantharidin is a toxin that comes from beetle juice. It comes from the real bug, it wasn’t just invented for the Tim Burton movie. Cantharidin causes the skin around and under the wart to blister. So as the skin heals, the blister (as well as the wart) peels off. It is usually used in cases when salicylic acid, cryotherapy, or electrosurgery aren’t doing the trick. However, note that it is not well-researched or widely used, and it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.