Molluscum Contagiosum : Treatment
Molluscum Contagiosum - Treatment: Molluscum contagiosum is a self-limiting infection with no long-term sequelae. The lesions resolve without scarring in 6-12 months, but may take as long as 3-4 years in some cases, since the patient may have several crops of lesions at different stages of development. Treatment is not necessary in healthy individuals and is only recommended for genital lesions and in immunocompromised patients. Physical removal can be accomplished by cryotherapy (painful but removes lesions), curettage, or laser therapy. Oral therapy with cimetidine (children) or topical therapy with 0.5% podophyllotoxin (not 100% effective) or Cantharidin (blister beetle extract) are other alternatives. Anti-retroviral therapy can clear molluscum in HIV-positive patients. It may be difficult to eradicate, especially in immunocompromised patients, but there is no associated mortality. Molluscum contagiosum virus is a poor immunogen. One-third of patients never have an immune response against the virus. Repeat infections are therefore common. This photograph from a patient with molluscum contagiosum shows how scratching a lesion can cause linear spread due to autoinoculation. Note the central dimpling. The lower portion of the lesion is secondarily infected.