Five Percent Potassium Hydroxide for the Treatment of Anogenital Warts: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

  • Shahara Abalos-Babaran
  • Jay-V James G. Barit
  • Francisca DC. Roa
Keywords: Potassium Hydroxide, Genital Warts, Condyloma Acuminata


Background and Objectives. Potassium hydroxide (KOH) is effective and safe as treatment of viral dermatoses. No systematic review has been done reporting its efficacy as a treatment for anogenital warts.

Methods. A systematic literature search for controlled clinical trials using KOH, any drug or ablative procedure measuring the clearance rate was conducted. Analysis was done using RevMan v5.3 software.

Results. Four low quality trials, composed of 197 patients were included but only two qualified for meta-analysis. Two studies compared KOH to cryotherapy while the two other trials compared KOH to intralesional 5-fluorouracil (FU) + salicylic acid (SA) and carbon dioxide (CO2) laser vaporization. The KOH group showed a higher clearance rate compared to cryotherapy (RR= 1.40, P> 0.05, I2=39 %) and no recurrence was noted (RR= 0.17, P> 0.05, I2=0) but the difference is not statistically significant. Isik et al., 2014 and Asadi et al., demonstrated that there was no significant difference among groups receiving KOH, 5-FU+SA and CO2 laser vaporization in the mean lesion count and size at follow up visits. (P > 0.05).

Conclusions. Potassium hydroxide has comparable efficacy to the present treatment modalities but well-structured RCTs are needed to further support its use.