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Tazarotene is as effective and tolerable as imiquimod in the treatment of verruca plana, a comparative randomized clinical trial.

BACKGROUND: Plane warts when multiple and recurrent present a therapeutic challenge acting as a source of reinfection causing frustration and affecting patient's quality of life. For lesions of large numbers in cosmetically significant sites, topical treatment is preferred to avoid potential sequelae.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate and compare the efficacy and tolerability of tazarotene 0.1% gel versus imiquimod 5% cream for the treatment of plane warts.

METHODS: In a parallel three-arm randomized controlled trial, 60 patients were randomized into imiquimod, tazarotene or placebo groups. Patients applied the corresponding treatment once daily at night for a maximum of 12 weeks. Primary outcomes were percentage of respondents with complete clearance in the three studied groups, the type and frequency of side effects in each group.

RESULTS: Both active treatments resulted in significant improvement compared to baseline and to placebo group (P=0.001). Imiquimod 5% treated group showed complete clearance in 50% of cases, partial response in 15%, and no response in 35%. Tazarotene 0.1% gel showed complete clearance in 40% of cases, partial response in 40%, and no response in 20%. No significant difference was detected between imiquimod and tazarotene groups (P=0.190).

CONCLUSIONS: Compared to imiquimod, tazarotene 0.1% gel for the treatment of plane warts seems to offer equivalent treatment response, maintained efficacy without recurrence, safer profile regarding dyspigmentation with an advantageous cheaper cost.

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