Class: Skin and Mucous Membrane Agents, Miscellaneous
ATC Class: D06BB04
VA Class: DE500
Chemical Name: [5R-(5α,5aβ,8aα,9α)]-5,8,8a,9-Tetrahydro-9-hydroxy-5-(3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)-furo[3′,4′:6,7[naphtho[2,3-d]]]-1,3-dioxol-6(5aH)-one
Molecular Formula: C22H22O8
CAS Number: 518-28-5
Medically reviewed on September 1, 2017
Uses for Podofilox
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infections
CDC and others recommend that external HPV warts be treated with a self-administered topical therapy (podofilox, imiquimod), a topical therapy administered by a health-care provider (podophyllum resin, trichloroacetic acid [TCA], bichloroacetic acid [BCA]), or a surgical technique (cryotherapy, electrosurgery, surgical excision).5 6 15 20 22 Alternative therapies include intralesional interferon alfa or laser surgery.22
A preferred treatment regimen for external genital HPV warts in HIV-infected adults and adolescents;45 response rate may be lower than in those without HIV infection.34 An alternative treatment regimen for external HPV warts in HIV-infected children†; topical therapies often are ineffective in such children and a surgical technique (cryotherapy, electrosurgery) usually is preferred.46
Primary goal is destruction or clearance of visible, symptomatic warts.4 5 6 22 No regimen has been shown to eradicate HPV or affect natural history of HPV infection;3 4 6 16 19 22 effect on transmission of HPV unknown.22
Safety and efficacy for treatment of urethral, intravaginal, cervical, rectal, anal, or oral HPV warts have not been established.1 2 22 32 40 Some clinicians suggest use of podofilox for treatment of distal meatal HPV warts†, but data are limited.22
Podofilox Dosage and Administration
Suitable for self-administration.1 2 44 The initial dose preferably should be applied by a clinician to ensure that patient understands correct administration techniques and to identify specific warts that should be treated.1 2 16 22 44
Apply the gel to external genital and perianal warts using the applicator tip or fingers.1 22 Apply the solution to external genital warts using a disposable applicator supplied with the solution;2 22 44 use a new applicator each time the solution is applied.2 44
External Genital HPV WartsTopical
HIV-infected children†: Apply 0.5% gel or solution to affected area twice daily (morning and evening) for 3 consecutive days followed by 4 consecutive days without treatment.46 This weekly cycle may be repeated until there are no visible warts or for a maximum of 4 cycles (4 weeks).46 If response is incomplete after 4 treatment cycles, discontinue the drug and consider alternative therapy.46
External Genital and Perianal HPV WartsTopical
Genital HPV warts: Apply 0.5% gel or solution to affected area twice daily (morning and evening) for 3 consecutive days followed by 4 consecutive days without treatment.1 2 22 44 This weekly cycle may be repeated until there are no visible warts or for a maximum of 4 cycles (4 weeks).1 2 22 44 If response is incomplete after 4 treatment cycles, discontinue the drug and consider alternative therapy.1 2 44
Perianal HPV warts: Apply 0.5% gel to affected area twice daily (morning and evening) for 3 consecutive days followed by 4 consecutive days without treatment.1 22 This weekly cycle may be repeated until there are no visible warts or for a maximum of 4 cycles (4 weeks).1 22 If response is incomplete after 4 treatment cycles, discontinue the drug and consider alternative therapy.1
Follow-up examinations not generally required for patients self-administering podofilox, but may be useful several weeks after initiation of therapy to determine response to treatment, to monitor and treat complications of therapy, and provide additional patient education and counseling.22 A follow-up examination 3 months after completion of treatment may be beneficial since identification of external genital warts may be difficult.22
External Genital and Perianal HPV WartsTopical
There is no evidence that more frequent application will increase efficacy; more frequent application may increase risk of local adverse reactions and increase systemic absorption of the drug.1 2 9 30
Maximum of 4 weeks (4 cycles) of therapy.1 2 22 44 Has been used for up to 6–8 consecutive cycles without unusual adverse effects,23 27 32 but safety and efficacy of >4 cycles have not been established.1 2 22 44
No special population dosage recommendations.
Cautions for Podofilox
Because HPV genital warts have a characteristic appearance, biopsy generally is necessary only if the diagnosis is uncertain, warts do not respond to standard therapies, the disease worsens during therapy, the patient is immunocompromised (e.g., HIV infection), and/or warts are pigmented, indurated, fixed, and ulcerated.22 45
Precautions Related to Treatment of External Genital and Perianal HPV Warts
Follow-up visits are not required for patients self-administering podofilox, but may be useful several weeks after initiation of therapy to determine response to treatment, to monitor and treat complications of therapy, and to provide additional patient education and counseling.22
Follow-up examinations not mandatory if visible genital and perianal warts have cleared after treatment, but may be beneficial 3 months after treatment is completed since identification of external genital warts may be difficult.22
Examination of sexual partners is not necessary for the management of genital HPV warts because data do not indicate that reinfection plays a role in recurrences and, in the absence of curative therapy, treatment to reduce transmission is not realistic.22 However, sexual partners of patients with genital HPV warts may benefit from examination to assess the presence of HPV warts or other sexually transmitted diseases and also may benefit from counseling about the implications of having a partner who has HPV warts.22
Women with genital HPV warts should be advised to undergo regular Papanicolaou (Pap) tests as recommended for women without genital HPV warts.22
In a study in pediatric patients 2–15 years of age† with molluscum contagiosum†, adverse effects reported following topical application of podofilox 0.5% solution to lesions once daily for 7–30 days included local burning, discomfort, pruritus, and erythema (which did not require discontinuance) and perilesional erythema, marked inflammatory reaction, and diarrhea with fever (which resulted in discontinuance in 3 children).33
Common Adverse Effects
Topical application of 0.05 mL of podofilox 0.5% solution to external genitalia resulted in undetectable serum concentrations of the drug;1 2 39 44 topical application of 0.1–1.5 mL of the solution resulted in peak serum concentrations of 1–17 ng/mL at 1–2 hours after application.1 2 8 39 44
Topical application to external genital and perianal HPV warts generally results in necrosis of visible wart tissue.1 2 10 44 The effect on HPV warts may be related to interference with microtubular function of the keratinocytes contained in the warts and local vascular structures and also may be related to local immunomodulating effects.10 32 40
Arrests mitosis in metaphase in a manner similar to that of colchicine.10 31 Podofilox reversibly binds to tubulin, thereby preventing polymerization of tubulin into microtubules.9 31 As a result of inhibition of microtubule formation, podofilox has a variety of biologic effects and, depending on the cell system, can stimulate or arrest cell proliferation and affect cell differentiation.31
Reportedly inhibits the mitogen response of human lymphocytes, inhibits growth factor-stimulated macrophage proliferation, and induces production of interleukin-1 (IL-1) and interleukin-2 (IL-2).10 31
May have anti-inflammatory activity related to a decrease in tumor necrosis factor receptors.31
Advice to Patients
Advise patients that podofilox is not a cure for HPV infection; new HPV warts may develop during or after therapy with the drug.1 2 22 Importance of patient watching for recurrences, particularly during the first 3 months.22
Importance of not exceeding the recommended dosage or duration of therapy.42 43 44 Do not use more than twice daily, do not use >3 days in a row, and discontinue use and informing clinician if no improvement occurs after 4 weeks of treatment..42 43 44
Importance of reporting adverse reactions to the clinician.1 2 If a severe adverse reaction (e.g., bleeding, swelling, excessive pain, burning, or itching) occurs, wash podofilox from the treatment area, discontinue the drug, and contact clinician.32 40 42 43 44 47
Importance of carefully instructing the patient regarding proper techniques for application, including washing hands after each use.1 2 22 44 (See Topical Administration under Dosage and Administration.)
Importance of informing patients of other important precautionary information. (See Cautions.)
Excipients in commercially available drug preparations may have clinically important effects in some individuals; consult specific product labeling for details.
Please refer to the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center for information on shortages of one or more of these preparations.
* available from one or more manufacturer, distributor, and/or repackager by generic (nonproprietary) name
Condylox (with alcohol 95% lactic acid and sodium lactate)
AHFS DI Essentials. © Copyright 2018, Selected Revisions September 1, 2007. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.
1. Oclassen Dermatologics. Condylox gel 0.5% (podofilox gel) prescribing information. Corona, CA; 2006 Mar.
2. Oclassen Dermatologics. Condylox (podofilox) topical solution 0.5% prescribing information. Corona, CA; 2005 Oct.
3. Apgar BS. Changes in strategies for human papillomavirus genital disease. Am Fam Physician. 1997; 55:1545-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9105185?dopt=AbstractPlus
4. Phelps WC, Alexander KA. Antiviral therapy for human papillomaviruses: rationale and prospects. Ann Intern Med. 1995; 123:368-382. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7625626?dopt=AbstractPlus
5. Drake LA, Ceilley RI, Cornelison RL et al. Guidelines of care for warts: human papillomavirus. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1995; 32:98-103. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7822522?dopt=AbstractPlus
6. Beutner KR, Ferenczy A. Therapeutic approaches to genital warts. Am J Med. 1997; 102:28-37. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9217660?dopt=AbstractPlus
7. Baker DA, Douglas JM, Buntin DM et al. Topical podofilox for the treatment of condylomata acuminata in women. Obstet Gynecol. 1990; 76:656-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2216198?dopt=AbstractPlus
8. Oclassen Pharmaceuticals. Product information form for Condylox (podofilox) topical solution.
9. Beutner KR, von Krogh G. Current status of podophyllotoxin for the treatment of genital warts. Semin Dermatol. 1990; 9:148-51. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2202410?dopt=AbstractPlus
10. Beutner KR, Conant MA, Friedman-Kien AE et al. Patient-applied podofilox for treatment of genital warts. Lancet. 1989; 1:831-4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2564912?dopt=AbstractPlus
11. Beutner KR. Bridging the gap. Arch Dermatol. 1990; 126:1432-34. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2173496?dopt=AbstractPlus
12. Greenberg MD, Rutledge LH, Reid R et al. A double-blind, randomized trial of 0.5% podofilox and placebo for the treatment of genital warts in women. Obstet Gynecol. 1991; 77:735-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2014088?dopt=AbstractPlus
13. Bonnez W, Elswick RK, Bailey-Farchione A et al. Efficacy and safety of 0.5% podofilox solution in the treatment and suppression of anogenital warts. Am J Med. 1994; 96:420-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8192173?dopt=AbstractPlus
14. White DJ, Billingham C, Chapman S et al. Podophyllin 0.5% or 2.0% v podophyllotoxin 0.5% for the self treatment of penile warts: a double blind randomised study. Genitourin Med. 1997; 73:184-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9306898?dopt=AbstractPlus http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1195818&blobtype=pdf
15. Tyring SK, Cauda R, Baron S et al. Condyloma acuminatum: epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic aspects. Eur J Epidemiol. 1987; 3:209-15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3308509?dopt=AbstractPlus
16. Stone KM. Human papillomavirus infection and genital warts: update on epidemiology and treatment. Clin Infect Dis. 1995; 20(Suppl 1):S91-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7540876?dopt=AbstractPlus
17. Syrjanen KJ. Epidemiology of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and their associations with genital squamous cell cancer. APMIS. 1989; 97:957-70. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2556164?dopt=AbstractPlus
18. Raab-Traub N. The human DNA tumor viruses: human papilloma virus and Epstein-Barr virus. Cancer Treatment Res. 1989; 47:285-302.
19. Verdon ME. Issues in the management of human papillomavirus genital disease. Am Fam Physician. 1997; 55:1813-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9105207?dopt=AbstractPlus
20. Baker GE, Tyring SK. Therapeutic approaches to papillomavirus infections. Dermatol Clin. 1997; 15:331-40. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9098642?dopt=AbstractPlus
21. Kirby P, Dunne A, King DH et al. Double-blind randomized clinical trial of self-administered podofilox solution versus vehicle in the treatment of genital warts. Am J Med. 1990; 88:465-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2186623?dopt=AbstractPlus
22. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2006. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2006; 55(RR-11):1-94. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5106.pdf
23. Tyring S, Edwards L, Cherry LK et al. Safety and efficacy of 0.5% podofilox gel in the treatment of anogenital warts. Arch Dermatol. 1998; 134:33-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9449907?dopt=AbstractPlus
24. Lassus A. Comparison of podophyllotoxin and podophyllin in treatment of genital warts. Lancet. 1987; 2:512-3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2887805?dopt=AbstractPlus
25. Strand A, Brinkeborn RM, Siboulet A. Topical treatment of genital warts in men, an open study of podophyllotoxin cream compared with solution. Genitourin Med. 1995; 71:387-90. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8566979?dopt=AbstractPlus http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1196110&blobtype=pdf
26. Petersen CS, Agner T, Ottevanger V et al. A single-blind study of podophyllotoxin cream 0.5% and podophyllotoxin solution 0.5% in male patients with genital warts. Genitourin Med. 1995; 71:391-2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8566980?dopt=AbstractPlus http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1196111&blobtype=pdf
27. Edwards A, Atma-Ram A, Thin RN. Podophyllotoxin 0.5% v podophyllin 20% to treat penile warts. Genitourin Med. 1988; 64:263-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3169757?dopt=AbstractPlus http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1194230&blobtype=pdf
28. von Krogh G, Szpak E, Andersson M et al. Self-treatment using 0.25%–0.5% podophyllotoxin-ethanol solutions against penile condylomata acuminata: a placebo-controlled comparative study. Genitourin Med. 1994; 70:105-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8206467?dopt=AbstractPlus http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1195204&blobtype=pdf
29. Paddock Laboratories. Podocon-25 (25% podophyllin in benzoin tincture) prescribing information. Minneapolis. MN; 2005 Aug.
30. von Krogh G. Topical self-treatment of penile warts with 0.5% podophyllotoxin in ethanol for four or five days. Sex Transm Dis. 1987:14:135-40.
31. Sackett DL. Podophyllotoxin, steganacin and combretastatin: natural products that bind at the colchicine site of tubulin. Pharmacol Ther. 1993; 59:163-228. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8278462?dopt=AbstractPlus
32. Reviewers’ comments (personal observations).
33. Teillac-Hamel D, Roux A, Loeb G et al. Pharmacokinetic and safety profile of topical podophyllotoxin (0.5% solution) on molluscum contagiosum in children. Eur J Dermatol. 1996; 6:437-40.
34. Kilewo CDS, Urassa WK, Pallangyo K et al. Response to podophyllotoxin treatment of genital warts in relation to HIV-1 infection among patients in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Int J STD AIDS. 1995; 6:114-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7779923?dopt=AbstractPlus
35. Syed TA, Lundin S, Ahmad M. Topical 0.3% and 0.5% podophyllotoxin cream for self-treatment of molluscum contagiosum in males. Dermatology. 1994; 189:65-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8003791?dopt=AbstractPlus
36. Deleixhe-Mauhin F, Piérard-Franchimont C, Piérard GE. Podophyllotoxin in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum. J Dermatol Treatment. 1991; 2:99-101.
37. Neff JM. Parapoxviruses, molluscum contagiosum, and tanapox viruses. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, and Dolin R, eds. Principles and practices of infections diseases. 6th ed. New York: Churchill Livingston; 2000:1556-7.
38. Lewis EJ, Lam M, Crutchfield CE. An update on molluscum contagiosum. Cutis. 1997; 60:29-34. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252731?dopt=AbstractPlus
39. von Krogh G. Podophyllotoxin in serum: absorption subsequent to three day repeated applications of a 0.5% ethanolic preparation on condylomata acuminata. Sex Transm Dis. 1982; 9:26-33. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10328020?dopt=AbstractPlus
40. Watson Laboratories, Corona, CA: Personal communication.
41. Syed TA, Lundin S, Ahmad SA. Topical 0.3% and 0.5% podophyllotoxoin cream for self-treatment of condylomata acuminata in women. Dermatology. 1994; 189:142-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8075441?dopt=AbstractPlus
42. Oclassen Dermatologics. Condylox gel 0.5% (podofilox gel) patient information. Corona, CA; 2005 Oct.
43. Oclassen Dermatologics. Condylox (podofilox) topical solution 0.5% patient information. Corona, CA; 2005 Oct.
44. Paddock. Podofilox topical solution 0.5% prescribing information. Minneapolis, MN. 2005 Jul.
45. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treating opportunistic infections among HIV-infected adults and adolescents: recommendations from CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association/Infectious Diseases Society of America. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2004; 53(RR-15):1-112.
46. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treating opportunistic infections among HIV-exposed and infected children: recommendations from CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2004; 53(RR-14):1-92.
47. Paddock. Podofilox topical solution 0.5% patient information. Minneapolis, MN. 2005 Aug.
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- Drug class: topical keratolytics
Other brands: Condylox