The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning for anyone using certain cryogenic wart removers as they have proven to be highly flammable. Fourteen reports involving wart removers catching fire during use at home, users who were harmed, and set fire to a household item included ten patients who suffered singed hair, blisters, burns, or reddening skin.
"The labeling for these products clearly states that they are flammable and should be kept away from fire, flame, heat sources, and cigarettes," FDA nurse consultant Karen Nast said in a statement. "This is extremely concerning, especially because people may not be aware that everyday household items like curling irons and straight irons can be hot enough to be an ignition source for these products.”
According to the reports the FDA has received, the opening that dispenses the cryogenic wart treatment caught fire while releasing gel or cream. Over-the-counter (OTC) wart removal medications are usually a combination of liquid dimethyl ether and propane. Although the FDA has currently received 14 reports of fires due to wart remover application, Nast said these occurrences are under-reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributes 90 percent of genital warts to the human papillomavirus. As a form of alternative treatment, the FDA recommends the topical application of salicylic acid, which softens the wart over time until it eventually falls off. Health care professionals can also remove warts through surgical intervention, laser therapy, or liquid nitrogen cryosurgical treatments.
“Warts can often disappear on their own without treatment in most people,” said FDA dermatologist Dr. Markham Luke. “However, if you are not sure if your warts are cause for concern or if you have questions about using cryogenic products at home, it's best to be on the safe side and talk with your health care professional before taking action.”