Podophyllin: Uses & Side Effects

Podophyllum is a plant. The root and underground stem (rhizome) are used to make medicine. Podophyllum is highly poisonous when taken by mouth. Nevertheless, some people take it orally for yellowed skin (jaundice), liver ailments, fever, syphilis, hearing loss, and cancer. Podophyllum is also used to empty the bowels, kill parasitic worms in the intestine, and counteract snakebite. Some women take it to cause an abortion.

Podophyllum is applied directly to the skin for removal of warts, including plantar warts and sexually transmitted (venereal) warts. It is also used topically for treating pre-cancerous white patches on the tongue and mouth (oral hairy leukoplakia). Intravaginally, podophyllum is used to treat gynecologic infections.

Side Effects

When applied by medical professionals in low concentration to unbroken skin, podophyllum is possibly safe for most people. It should be washed off within 4 to 6 hours. Podophyllum should not be used in higher concentrations or over large areas of the body. It is absorbed through the skin and can cause the same serious harmful effects as taking podophyllum by mouth. Podophyllotoxin, a chemical found in podophyllum, is safer and has largely replaced podophyllum as a treatment.

Podophyllum is likely unsafe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in higher concentrations over large areas of the body. It is poisonous. It may cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, spasms, fever, visual changes and hallucinations, low blood pressure, bone marrow problems, paralysis, coma, liver problems, and kidney problems. It can take up to 13 hours for symptoms of poisoning to appear. Some deaths after taking podophyllum by mouth or applying it to the skin in large amounts have been reported. Podophyllum poisoning has been successfully treated in some cases by using activated charcoal.

Keywords: Podophyllin.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.