Comparison of Safety and Efficacy of Potassium Hydroxide versus Combination of Salicylic and Lactic Acid for Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Durre-Shehwar Arshad Pirzada Private Practitioner in Abbotabad
  • Sumaira Abdullah Senior Registrar, Department of Dermatology, Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital
  • Qurat-ul Ain Zia Senior Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry, Islamabad Medical & Dental
  • Syed Afaq Ahmed Head, Department of Dermatology, Dr. Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital
  • Hamid Ali Head, Department of Medical Lab Technology, Dr. Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital
Keywords: Molluscum contagiosum, potassium hydroxide, salicylic acid, lactic acid combination


Background: Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a contagious cutaneous infection caused by MC virus, affecting mainly the pediatric population. It is characterized by flesh-colored umbilicated papules occurring on the skin surface. Potassium hydroxide (KOH) and salicylic acid plus lactic acid combination being keratolytic agents, are effective treatment options. The objective of the study was to compare the efficacy and safety of 10% KOH solution versus salicylic acid/ lactic acid combination in treating Molluscum contagiosum in pediatric population.

Material and Methods: A total of 80 children (age range 1-13 years) with Molluscum contagiosum lesions were selected from the Dermatology Out-Patient Department, and were randomly allocated into two groups by lottery method. Group A was given topical 10% KOH solution and group B was given Salicylic plus Lactic acid preparations for topical application. Patients were followed after two weeks to see regression in size of the lesion, and development of any side-effects. Final visit was scheduled at 6 weeks. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS (version 16) with p value less than 0.05 considered as statistically significant.

Results: Patients with MC (n = 80) were equally divided into group A (treated with 10% KOH) and group B (treated with combination of Salicylic acid and Lactic acid). After 6 weeks, complete remission from Molluscum contagiosum virus was seen in 29 (72.5%) patients of group A and 34 (85%) patients of group B. There were 12 (30%) patients in group A who developed local irritation and 4 (10%) developed local erythema after 6 weeks. None of the patients of group B had any such side effects.

Conclusion: 10% KOH solution is as effective as the combination of Salicylic and Lactic acids for treatment of Molluscum contagiosum in pediatric population, however it is associated with side effects of local irritation and erythema.

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