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Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a self-limited cutaneous viral infection. Topical 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH) has been used for treating MC. However, it remains unclear whether it is beneficial or not to apply topical 10% KOH for treating MC. To confirm the efficacy and safety of topical 10% KOH compared with placebo as well as other treatments for MC, meta-analysis was used. Up to September 2020, we performed a comprehensive search of literature based on three databases with following keywords including 'molluscum contagiosum' and 'potassium hydroxide'. Our meta-analyses demonstrated a significant difference between topical 10% KOH and placebo for complete clearance of MC (RR: 2.96, 95% CI: 1.69 - 5.17, p = .0001), while there were no statistical differences between them in the number of patients with adverse events (RR: 1.73, 95% CI: 0.67 - 4.45, p = .2562). Also, topical 10% KOH was as effective as mechanical treatments for MC (RR: 0.95, 95% CI: 0.84 - 1.07, p = .3833). We demonstrate that application of topical 10% KOH may be one of effective and appropriate methods for the treatment of MC compared with awaiting spontaneous resolution due to its safety and effectiveness.


Jae Young Heo, Tae Heum Park, Woo Il Kim. The efficacy and safety of topical 10% potassium hydroxide for molluscum contagiosum: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of dermatological treatment. 2022 May;33(3):1682-1690

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PMID: 33667150

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