Background: Recurrence rate is considerable with current topical treatments of plantar warts. We compared the efficacy of topical pyruvic acid (70%) with salicylic acid (16.7%) compound in treating multiple plantar warts.
Materials and Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, 60 patients with multiple plantar warts were equally randomized to receive either pyruvic acid 70% or compound salicylic acid solution (salicylic acid 16.7%, lactic acid 16.7%, and collodion 100%) that was topically applied twice a day for 4 weeks. Patients were visited every 2 weeks for 1 month after starting treatment and then every 1 month for another 2 months. The number and size of warts, treatment complications (pain, burning, scar, pigmentation, and crust), and recurrence were evaluated.
Results: Warts' number was decreased by -13.12 ± 25.6% with pyruvic acid and by -23.0 ± 28.0% with compound salicylic acid (P = 0.159) after treatment. Warts' size was decreased by -43.47 ± 57.0% with pyruvic acid and by -37.40 ± 32.76% with compound salicylic acid (P = 0.615) after treatment. There was no difference between the two groups in cumulative incidence of treatment complications (P > 0.05). Also, there was no difference between the two groups in recurrence rate at 2 months (10 vs. 16.7%, P = 0.500) or at 3 months after treatment (3.3 vs. 6.7%, P = 0.335).
Conclusion: Topical pyruvic acid and compound salicylic acid had the same efficacy and complications in treating plantar warts. Decision for choosing the treatment can be made based on the costs and individual factors as well as patients preferences.