FDA warns of fires from wart removers

FDA warns of fires from wart removers
Don't use flammable products near candles, hair appliances, agency says.

(HealthDay)—Flammable over-the-counter wart removers have started fires, injuring at least 10 people in recent years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

Since 2009, the FDA has received 14 reports about some "cryogenic" wart removers that "freeze" the growths off the skin. In several cases, combustion occurred when the products—a mixture of liquid dimethyl ether and propane—were used near a candle.

Ten people have suffered singed hair, blisters, burns or skin redness, the agency said.

"The labeling for these products clearly states that they are flammable and should be kept away from fire, flame, heat sources and cigarettes," FDA nurse consultant Karen Nast said in an agency news release.

In three of the reports to the FDA, there was a candle nearby. But no ignition source was identified in the other 11 reports.

"This is extremely concerning, especially because people may not be aware that everyday household items like curling irons and straight irons can be hot enough to be an ignition source for these products," Nast said.

In the incidents reported to the FDA, the wart remover dispenser generally caught fire when it was releasing the mixture, the agency said.

Nast said that even though the FDA has received only 14 reports of fires linked to cryogenic treatments, such occurrences are often under-reported. She urged consumers to tell the FDA about similar experiences. "It's important for us to know when and how problems like this happen," she said.

You can report device-related problems through the FDA's MedWatch alert system.

If you use a cryogenic wart remover, use it only as directed, follow all warnings, and use it in a well-ventilated area, FDA dermatologist Dr. Markham Luke said. He noted that there are other options for treating warts.

Your doctor can remove warts using treatments such as surgical paring, laser or liquid-nitrogen freezing treatments, he said.

"The advantage is that the health care professional has been trained in providing the treatment safely and under controlled conditions," Luke said.

Alternative over-the-counter treatments include salicylic acid, which softens or loosens warts so they fall off or are easy to remove, the FDA said.

However, Luke said warts often disappear without any treatment.

More information: The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about warts.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FDA seeks to improve safety of antiseptic swabs

Nov 14, 2013

(HealthDay)—Manufacturers of antiseptic swabs and solutions are being asked to make voluntary labeling and packaging changes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

FDA warns against misuse of laxatives

Jan 09, 2014

(HealthDay)—If you are constipated and need to use a laxative, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants you to know that some products can be dangerous if you don't follow the dosing instructions or ...

FDA allows two new cigarettes to hit market

Jun 25, 2013

(HealthDay)—Using its newfound authority to regulate tobacco, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has for the first time allowed two new cigarette brands to hit the market.

Temporary tattoos may leave permanent damage

Mar 26, 2013

(HealthDay)—As thousands of college students head to sunny spots for spring break, getting temporary tattoos may seem like a fun thing to do. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that they can ...

Recommended for you

US approves new, hard-to-abuse hydrocodone pill (Update)

Nov 20, 2014

U.S. government health regulators on Thursday approved the first hard-to-abuse version of the painkiller hydrocodone, offering an alternative to a similar medication that has been widely criticized for lacking ...

Soaring generic drug prices draw Senate scrutiny

Nov 20, 2014

Some low-cost generic drugs that have helped restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected price spikes of up to 8,000 percent, prompting a backlash from patients, pharmacists and now Washington ...

Only half of patients take their medications as prescribed

Nov 20, 2014

The cost of patients not taking their medications as prescribed can be substantial in terms of their health. Although a large amount of research evidence has tried to address this problem, there are no well-established ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.