Bleomycin is an anti-cancer drug that is also found under the names Blenoxane or bleomycin sulfate. This medicine is produced from a bacteria called Streptomyces verticillus and was discovered in 1966 while Hamao Umezawa was screening the bacteria for cultures. Almost by accident, he discovered that it completely eradicated certain types of cancer cells. It has now saved countless lives from lymphoma, reproductive cancers and cancers of the neck and head. Recently, it was discovered that because Bleomycin kills tumerous growths, it can cure warts as well, and the cure rate is among the highest of any wart treatment available. Read below to learn how Bleomycin can help you finally get rid of your most stubborn warts forever.
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The Efficacy of Bleomycin
Placebo controlled studies have been conducted to explore the efficacy of Bleomycin for warts that do not respond well to other methods of treatment, such as periungual warts and palmo-plantar warts.
Periungual warts are warts that grow in clusters around fingernails and toenails. Palmo-plantar warts are dark warts that grow deep into the heel or ball of the foot. Both of these types of warts are also often called myrmecia and are usually surrounded by a ring of calloused skin that makes them extremely difficult to treat and very painful.
A 2011 study examined the effectiveness of two injections of Bleomycin to treat these difficult-to-cure warts.
The study was divided into two groups:
- Group A received the Bleomycin and had a complete cure rate of 96%.
- Group B received only a placebo and had a cure rate of only 11%.
This proves Bleomycin is one of the most effective cures for warts available.
How it Works?
All warts are caused by different variations of the human papillomavirus, otherwise called HPV. Bleomycin kills both the wart virus and cancer in the same way – it inhibits DNA creation and reproduction by breaking apart the strands of DNA molecules in cells and viruses. This also causes the existing DNA to be obliterated, killing the defective cells and viruses that cause the condition. As the defective cells die and are sloughed away, new, healthy and uninfected skin grows back in its place and the wart is gradually cured.
Bleomycin is administered to stubborn warts as an injection diluted with saline. Since the injections can be fairly or even extremely painful, it is best to receive some form of local anesthetic before the treatment is administered. This is why Bleomycin should only be administered at a doctor’s office by a physician that is trained in the use of the medicine.
Bleomycin Injection to Stop Wart Growth
Because Bleomycin destroys DNA in cells and viruses, it stops wart growth in its tracks. Even in cases where a full cure is not achieved, growth of the wart is usually halted, making it easier to excise the remaining damaged tissue surgically.
While Bleomycin is not approved by the FDA or other health authorities for this purpose yet, multiple clinical trials have shown its effectiveness. This is why Bleomycin is being used more and more to cure stubborn warts when other treatments fail.
Clinical trials are currently experimenting with more effective injection methods such as mixing Bleomycin with lignocaine to increase penetration into cell membranes and the use of electrical impulses to increase absorption. Hopefully, the effective clinical trials will convince the FDA to approve Bleomycin for this purpose so that insurance coverage is easier to obtain.
Bleomycin is not ideal for everyone because it causes an extremely painful blister at the injection site that will still hurt when the anisthetic wears off. It can also cause severe skin damage to people with certain pre-existing conditions that weaken blood vessels such as Raynaud’s syndrome or peripheral artery disease.
Precautions While Using Bleomycin
Bleomycin may not be the best treatment ideal for everyone.
- Bleomycin injections produce blood blisters around the wart. This can make the surrounding skin even more painful than it was before the treatment until it heals. Since the treatment is so painful, many people try to multiple other less painful options before resorting to Bleomycin injections.
- The treatment can also be quite expensive because it must be administered by a doctor or other medical professional. This makes other, less expensive treatments like over the counter wart ointment a much more attractive option. Read here to learn about the various types of wart ointment available to help cure HPV infection.
- Also, Bleomycin shouldn’t be used by patients who suffer from disease of the peripheral arteries or someone with Raynaud’s syndrome because it can cause severe damage to already weakened arteries and capillaries.
The dose that is typically used is an injection of between 0.1 and 2.0 IU (international units) mixed with saline. Bleomycin is usually administered once or twice a month until the wart infection is completely cured. Cure is often achieved after only two injections.
If, however, your wart does not respond to even this very effective cure, other options such as terrasil wart removal should be considered. To learn more about terrasil for warts, read here.
Despite its huge success rate in treating recalcitrant warts, bleomycin has some side effects that discourage its use as a first line of treatment.
These possible side effects are:
- scarring at the site of injection.
- nail damage, if the treatment was used to treat warts near nail beds.
- changes in skin color – sometimes permanent.
- severe skin irritation.
- and very rarely, an anaphylactic reaction that needs emergency treatment.
If any of these possible side effects are concerning to you or your physician, a more gentle treatment like trichloroacetic acid might be a better option. To learn more about trichloraoacetic acid wart removal, you can read this article.
While many people do cure their warts with other less painful and less invasive methods, Bleomycin provides an option for those who have been unable to cure their warts in any other way. Bleomycin is giving hope to wart sufferers who thought they would never be free of their unsightly and painful infection.