Can Tagamet Be Used To Treat Warts?

Our pharmacist answers the latest questions regarding whether or not Tagamet can be used to treat warts.

Sep 25, 2017

Donald asked

I have heard that Tagamet (cimetidine) can be used to treat warts? Is is true it can be used for that and for your stomach acid?

Answer

It is true that cimetidine sometimes is used for warts in patients. While not indicated by the FDA for warts, multiple studies have shown various benefits. It appears to be most effective in patients who have chronic problems with warts. While it seems odd to think that an acid suppresor can be beneficial for warts, it's actually a different mechanism entirely that is said to be responsible for treating warts. It is thought that cimetidine helps boost or stimulate the immune system which helps our bodies better attack the viruses that can cause the many different types of warts.

It's hard to give a good recommendation on the dose to take since there have been few studies on the matter. Most studies have used the dose of 400 to 800 mg three times daily. Some studies use the weight based dosing of 25 to 40 mg/kg/day (remember that 1 kg = 2.205 pounds). It is important to note that all of the studies stated that it can take some time to see any sort of clinical improvement, about 2 to 3 months.

As far as I am aware of, cimetidine has been the only medication in the class to be evaluated for its' effects. Others such as ranitidine haven't been tested.

In general, I don't recommend cimetidine for warts unless other treatment options have failed. In the clinical trials in which cimetidine was compared to other more common treatments, the other treatments were typically more effective with had somewhat less side effects.

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