brand logo

Am Fam Physician. 2009;80(12):1447-1454

Author disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Sinecatechins (Veregen) 15% ointment is the first botanical drug product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts.1 Sinecatechins is derived from green tea leaves; the mechanism of action is not yet known.1

NameDosageDose formCost*
Sinecatechins (Veregen)0.5-cm strand of ointment applied to each wart three times per day until complete clearance, up to 16 weeks15-g ointment$251


Serious adverse effects of sinecatechins that led to interruption or discontinuation of therapy in 5 percent of patients included application site reactions, phimosis, inguinal lymphade-nitis, urethral meatal stenosis, dysuria, genital herpes simplex, vulvitis, hypersensitivity, pruritus, pyodermitis, skin ulceration, erosions in the urethral meatus, and superinfection of warts and ulcers.1 Sinecatechins is FDA pregnancy category C (podofilox [Condylox] and imiquimod [Aldara] are also category C).14 It has not been studied in pregnant women, and whether it is excreted in breast milk is unknown.1


Sinecatechins causes side effects similar to those of podofilox or imiquimod, with rates between 5 and 18 percent.1 The most common were application site reactions (e.g., erythema, pruritus, burning, pain/discomfort, erosion/ulceration, edema, induration).14 If these reactions occur, treatment may need to be discontinued or stopped temporarily, with the option of restarting after the reaction subsides.5,6 Sinecatechins should not be used in conjunction with other skin products or on broken skin.1 There are no known drug interactions or contraindications.1


Currently available treatment options for genital and perianal warts include cryotherapy, podophyllum resin, trichloroacetic acid, surgical removal, or patient-applied therapy with podofilox 0.5% topical solution or gel and imiquimod 5% cream.24,7,8 After 16 weeks of treatment on average, sinecatechins causes complete clearance of warts in 53 to 58 percent of patients, compared with a clearance rate of 33 to 37 percent with placebo cream.5,6 This effectiveness appears to be greater than that demonstrated with imiquimod and podofilox,9 although no studies have directly compared sinecatechins with these products. Recurrence of warts will affect 5.9 to 6.5 percent of patients using sine-catechins; those using imiquimod and podofilox may have higher rates of recurrence.5,6,9 No research has determined whether topical treatments eradicate the strains of human papillomavirus that cause genital warts (i.e., types 6 and 11). However, these strains have not been associated with the development of cervical cancer.7


The cost of sinecatechins is $251 for a 15-g tube. In comparison, eight weeks of treatment with Aldara is $551 for 24 single-use packets (0.25 g per packet). Generic podofilox is available in a 3.5-mL solution for $106; Condylox is available as a 0.5% solution for $130 or a 0.5% gel (3.5-g tube) for $283.


Sinecatechins is applied three times per day for up to 16 weeks, which is more frequent than other patient-applied treatments. In general, sinecatechins does not need to be washed off following application; however, because it may weaken condoms or diaphragms, patients are advised to avoid sexual contact while the medication is applied or to wash off the medication before engaging in sexual activity. It can be refrigerated or, in cool climates, stored at room temperature up to 77°F (25°C).1

Bottom Line

Sinecatechins offers no clear advantage with regard to safety and tolerability. Indirect comparisons with other treatments suggest that sinecatechins may be more effective, with fewer recurrences of warts following successful treatment, but direct comparisons are lacking. Depending on the length of treatment and size of application area, sinecate-chins may be as expensive as current therapies available for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts, although it does offer the option of patient-applied therapy.

STEPS new drug reviews cover Safety, Tolerability, Effectiveness, Price, and Simplicity. Each independent review is provided by authors who have no financial association with the drug manufacturer.

This series is coordinated by Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, assistant medical editor.

A collection of STEPS published in AFP is available at

Continue Reading

More in AFP

Copyright © 2009 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.