Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus. There are a number of different subtypes, and certain subtypes of the human papillomavirus like the external skin of the genital area, and other ones, the internal areas. They are sexually transmitted, so by having sex with a person who’s been exposed to this particular virus, you’re at risk of developing it yourself. Extremely common disease in our population. Well they often present with people who notice that they have these little protuberances in their genital area, and they do “ooh, what’s that?” They’re often kind of warty-like. They can be flesh colored. In some people they can be darker colored. They can be single, but they can often be multiple in that area. For the most part, they can be asymptomatic; they’re sort of, there. But for some people, they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort; they can bleed. It can be bothersome. Genital warts are sometimes very difficult to treat, particularly if they are multiple. First of all, people want them treated for many different reasons.
First of all it’s a sexually transmitted disease, so they can give it to their partner or other partners. Cosmetically, they don’t like all these protuberances in their groin area, and they cause a fair amount of psycho-social morbidity in people that have it; they want it gone. So our treatment options–there are several. They can be ablative therapies, such as cryotherapy, CO2 laser, excision, cautery to them, and then there are also some sort of home remedies that you can do so first of all the ablative ones are usually done in the dermatologist’s office. The home remedies are often ones that are prescription drugs. So Podophyllotoxin can be applied. Imiquimod, either the 5% or the 3.75% can be applied. More recently, there is a new drug, Veregen, that has been found to be very effective. Veregen is very interesting. It’s the first botanical product that was approved by the FDA and Health Canada for the treatment of genital warts. It’s an extract of the green tea and green tea, for some reason, the chemicals within the green tea basically kill the warts and induce an immune response in our body to stop the warts from reoccurring.
It works well. Oftentimes we use these treatments in conjunction with ablative methods such as cryotherapy. Clinical studies have shown that after a 16 week period, about 50 to 60% of the warts go, which is very good. What the other I think important thing is that often they stay away. Ar a year’s time, only 6 to 9% of the time, I think reoccur which is much better than many of the other treatments that we have. .