Molluscum contagiosum: The importance of early diagnosis and treatment
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that is becoming an increasing problem in sexually active individuals and in patients with human immunodeficiency virus. Although molluscum contagiosum lesions are generally self-limiting, it may take 6 months to 5 years for lesions to disappear. Furthermore, patients with weakened immune systems have increased difficulty in clearing lesions; therefore lesions typically persist for prolonged periods. Although there has been continued debate about whether molluscum contagiosum lesions should be treated or allowed to resolve spontaneously, many clinicians recommend treatment of genital molluscum contagiosum lesions to reduce the risk of sexual transmission, prevent autoinoculation, and increase patient quality of life. Treatment options for molluscum contagiosum include physician-administered and patient-administered therapies. Novel patient-administered treatment options allow administration in the privacy of a patient's home, providing added convenience and reducing patient embarrassment or stress. With the novel treatment opportunities currently available or in development, physicians are able to improve patient quality of life while providing patients with a convenient, well-tolerated, easily administered treatment regimen. This review summarizes the clinical diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum and provides a critical assessment of several current and emerging treatment options.
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