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Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)

What is it?

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is a treatment for genital and anal warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). It is a powerful chemical that kills warts by destroying the proteins in the cells. After repeated application, it will cause the warts to shrink and eventually disappear.

How to take this medication:

TCA is a liquid that is applied directly to the wart. Only trained health care providers should apply TCA to genital and anal warts. This medication can also destroy normal skin surrounding the warts. It is usually applied once a week for several weeks depending on the number and size of warts. TCA is most effective on small, moist areas of warts.

Side effects:

TCA usually causes a few minutes of mild to moderate discomfort at the site where it is applied. Other common side effects that you may experience with TCA treatment include:

  • Mild to moderate skin irritation
  • Burning
  • Pain
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Skin ulcerations

Points to remember:

TCA is an effective treatment for the removal of genital warts, but it does not cure the infection with HPV. Once warts are removed, the virus remains in the body and can still be spread to another person through unprotected sexual contact. Using latex condoms can reduce the risk of HPV infection, but the virus can still be spread by intimate skin-to-skin contact with areas not covered by the condom.

Consent for Treatment:

The nurse and/or doctor has reviewed the information on this fact sheet with me.

I understand the risks and benefits of treatment and have had all of my questions answered to my satisfaction.