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Meta-Analysis of 5% Imiquimod and 0.5% Podophyllotoxin in the Treatment of Condylomata Acuminata

Yan J.a, b · Chen S.-L.c · Wang H.-N.b · Wu T.-X.d
aJinan City Hospital for Skin Disease Prevention and Treatment and bSchool of Pharmacy, Shandong University, Jinan, cInstitute of Dermatology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Nanjing, and dChinese Evidence-Based Medicine Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China Dermatology 2006;213:218–223 (DOI:10.1159/000095039)


Background: Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted disease caused by human papillomaviruses. Podophyllotoxin 0.5%, approved for patient self-administration, has been used most extensively in the treatment of genital warts. Imiquimod, a novel immune response modifier capable of inducing interferon-α and a variety of cytokines, has been examined as a potential treatment for genital warts. But 0.5% podophyllotoxin and 5% imiquimod have not been compared in any extensive and formal studies, although they are the common topical agents for genital warts. Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of topical 5% imiquimod and 0.5% podophyllotoxin in the treatment of genital warts. Methods: We searched Medline (1966 to June 2005), Embase (1974 to June 2005) and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (issue 3, 2005). Randomized controlled trials of 5% imiquimod or 0.5% podophyllotoxin in the treatment of genital warts were collected. Two reviewers extracted the data and independently assessed the quality of the included medical literature. Then, meta-analysis was conducted. Results: Twelve studies including 3 placebo-controlled trials of imiquimod and 9 placebo-controlled trials of podophyllotoxin were included. The clinical cure rates of imiquimod and podophyllotoxin were 50.34 and 56.41%, respectively, without statistically significant differences between the two (p > 0.05). A combined analysis of the 3 studies on imiquimod showed a statistically significant difference to the placebo group [pooled odds ratio (OR) 11.65, 95% confidence interval (CI) 6.05–22.44], as did a combined analysis of the 9 studies on podophyllotoxin (pooled OR 16.70, 95% CI 7.06–39.48). The most common adverse events of imiquimod were erythema, erosion, excoriation, itching and burning; those of podophyllotoxin were burning, pain, erosion, itching and inflammation. Conclusion: Imiquimod and podophyllotoxin possess similar curative effects on condylomata acuminata but podophyllotoxin has more serious adverse effects.


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