Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment
October 5, 2021

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

By: Martina Saied, Pharm.D. Candidate 2022

Molluscum contagiosum is relatively common in patients of all ages. It is usually self-limited which means in most cases it does not require medical treatment, but we also have many different treatment options for it.

What is molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is an infection caused by the poxvirus, which is also known as the molluscum contagiosum virus. It is usually a mild skin disease characterized by small lesions that can appear anywhere in the body. It typically resolves on its own, but sometimes it takes as long as 4 years.

What are the treatment options?

Molluscum contagiosum is very self-limited in healthy individuals, so treatment usually isn’t necessary. But visible lesions, as well as fear of transmission may prompt patients to want to get it removed. There are many different treatment options. Some common ones are listed below:

  • Physical removal- which includes freezing the lesion, or piercing the lesion and scraping it off, laser. It is very important that a trained health care provider removes lesions and not the patient to avoid any bacterial infections from occurring.

  • Oral therapy- oral therapy is mainly used in pediatric patients who are scared of physical removal. Cimetidine is the commonly used medication for removal.

  • Topical therapy- there are many different types of topical treatments that can be prescribed for treatment.

  • Potassium hydroxide

  • Podophyllotoxin

  • Imiquimod

  • Benzoyl peroxide

  • Tretinoin

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is it transmitted?

It spreads from direct person-to-person contact and things like clothing, towels, bathing sponges, pool equipment, and toys. If a person already has it, it can also spread to other parts by touching/ scratching the lesion and then touching their body somewhere else. It can also be spread by sexual contact.

How can I prevent it from spreading once I get it?

Best way is by following good hygiene habits. So, wash your hands, try to avoid scratching or picking at it, as well as keep the lesions covered!

Are there any long-term complications associated with molluscum infection?

Not really, only mild scarring could occur if you chose the physical removal route! That is why it is not recommended in otherwise healthy individuals.

Who is at risk for infection?

People with weakened immune system, atopic dermatitis, as well as people who live in warm, humid climates where conditions are crowded.

If I get infected once, can I get it again?

Unfortunately, yes. If you get into contact with an infected person, you can get it again.