Oral isotretinoin for treating mucocutaneous human papillomavirus infections: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Ting Hua Yang, Tsai Hsien Lee, Yu Chen Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: Some viral warts are refractory to treatment, some others tend to recur. Oral isotretinoin is useful against warts to varying degrees. Objective: To determine the efficacy of oral isotretinoin for treating mucocutaneous human papillomavirus infections. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published from the date of inception of the databases to December 30, 2017 were conducted. Randomized controlled trials or case series with ≥10 patients with mucocutaneous human papillomavirus infection who had received oral isotretinoin treatment were analyzed. The meta-analysis estimated the pooled odds ratio and pooled response rate. Results: The review included eight studies. Trials of oral isotretinoin versus placebo treatment revealed that isotretinoin effectively treated mucocutaneous human papillomavirus infections (odds ratio: 43.8, 95% confidence interval: 9.7-198.8). The pooled estimate of the complete response rate of oral isotretinoin to mucocutaneous human papillomavirus was 67.7% (95% confidence interval: 49.5-81.7%). Another pooled estimation revealed that 83.9% (95% confidence interval: 59.7-94.9%) of patients exhibited at least 50% lesion clearance, whereas 12.3% with complete response experienced recurrence. Limitations: This meta-analysis had a small sample size and high inter-study heterogeneity. Conclusion: Oral isotretinoin is superior to placebo for treating mucocutaneous human papillomavirus infections, particularly plane warts. The recurrence rate and risk of severe side effects are low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-577
Number of pages9
JournalIndian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019



  • Condyloma acuminatum
  • mucocutaneous human papillomavirus infections
  • oral isotretinoin
  • retinoids
  • warts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases

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