10% Potassium hydroxide solution vs. cryotherapy in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum: A case-control study

Farhana Muzaffar, Goona Niaz Ali


Background Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a common viral infection affecting children. A number of chemical and physical modalities are available for its treatment.


Objective To evaluate the efficacy and safety of cryotherapy versus 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution in treating MC.


Patients and methods 40 children with MC were divided into two groups. Cryotherapy (one freeze-thaw cycle) was done in group A (n=20) or 10% potassium hydroxide solution (KOH) was applied (group B, n=20) by the patient or a parent twice daily until 12 weeks. Patients were followed up at baseline, week 2, week 4, week 8, and week 12 for efficacy (defined as clearance of lesions) or side effects.


Results By the end of study, 14 patients in group A (cryotherapy) and 17 patients in group B (KOH) were evaluable. All 14 (100%) patients in cryotherapy group and 16/17 (94.1%) in KOH group showed complete clearance of lesions. 100% patients in group A (cryotherapy) and 88.2% in group B (KOH) developed local side effects. However, these were mild and did not warrant discontinuation of treatment.


Conclusion 10% KOH solution is as effective as cryotherapy for the treatment of MC in children. However, KOH is relatively safe and more patient friendly therapy.



Molluscum contagiosum, cryotherapy, potassium hydroxide

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