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In people with normal immune systems, the disorder usually goes away on its own over a period of months to years.
Persons with a comprimised immune system (such as AIDS) may have a rapidly worse case of molluscum contagiosum.
Individual lesions may be removed surgically, by scraping, de-coring, freezing, or through needle electrosurgery. Surgical removal of individual lesions may result in scarring.
Medications, such as those used to remove warts, may be helpful in removal of lesions, but can cause blistering that leads to temporary skin discoloration. Cantharidin, commonly called "beetle juice," is the most common solution used to treat the lesions. Tretinoin cream or imiquimod cream may also be prescribed.
Molluscum contagiosum lesions may persist from a few months to a few years. These lesions ultimately disappear without scarring, unless there is excessive scratching, which may leave marks.
Individual lesions usually disappear within about 2 - 3 months. Complete disappearance of all lesions generally occurs within about 6 - 18 months. The disorder may persist in immunosuppressed people.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms suggestive of molluscum contagiosum. Also call for an appointment with your health care provider if lesions persist or spread, or if new symptoms appear.
Cohen J, Powderly WG. Infectious Diseases. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Elsevier; 2004:2053-2056.
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