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Bowenoid Papulosis Medication

  • Author: Mary V Kaldas, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Sep 08, 2014

Medication Summary

Destruction of the lesion is the treatment of choice for bowenoid papulosis. Most medications act to some degree as both destructive and immunomodulating agents.


Keratolytic agents

Class Summary

Inhibit cell proliferation by blocking the progression of the cell cycle at specific stages.

Podophyllum resin (Pod-Ben, Podocon-25, Podofin)


Topical treatment for benign growths including external genital and perianal warts, papillomas, and fibroids.

Arrests mitosis in metaphase; active agent is podophyllotoxin; type of podophyllum resin used determines strength. American podophyllum contains one fourth of the amount reported by an Indian source.

Trichloroacetic acid (Tri-Chlor)


Cauterizes skin, keratin, and other tissues. Although caustic, causes less local irritation and systemic toxicity than others in the same class; however, response often is incomplete and recurrence occurs frequently.

Imiquimod (Aldara)


Induces secretion of interferon alpha and other cytokines; mechanisms of action are unknown.

5-Fluorouracil cream (Efudex, Adrucil, Fluoroplex)


For treatment-resistant bowenoid papulosis. Interferes with DNA synthesis by blocking the methylation of deoxyuridylic acid, and inhibits thymidylate synthetase, which subsequently reduces cell proliferation.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Mary V Kaldas, MD Resident Physician in Anatomic Pathology, National Institutes of Health

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Mark P Eid, MD Founder and Director, Virginia Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center

Mark P Eid, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Lester F Libow, MD Dermatopathologist, South Texas Dermatopathology Laboratory

Lester F Libow, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatopathology, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Mark W Cobb, MD Consulting Staff, WNC Dermatological Associates

Mark W Cobb, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatopathology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Edward A DiPreta, MD Dermatologist, DiPreta Dermatology

Edward A DiPreta, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, American Society for MOHS Surgery, and Medical Association of Georgia

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Kurt Maggio, MD Director of Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology, Assistant Chief, Department of Dermatology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Bowenoid papulosa histopathology (hematoxylin and eosin, magnification 40X).
Bowenoid papulosa histopathology (hematoxylin and eosin, magnification 400X).
Typical appearance of bowenoid papulosis in the female.
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