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Is duct tape effective for treating warts?

* Clinical question

Is duct tape an effective treatment for common viral warts in adults?

* Bottom line

No--occlusion with duct tape was no more or less effective than occlusion with moleskin. The low success rate overall argues against any effect for occlusion.

Level of evidence

1b: Individual randomized controlled trial (with narrow confidence interval)

Study design

Randomized controlled trial (single-blinded)


Unknown/not stated




Outpatient (any)


Previous small studies have suggested that duct tape is at least as effective as cryotherapy for the treatment of common viral warts. However, in the most widely reported study, blinding was uncertain and follow-up incomplete.

In this study, 90 adults with 126 warts were randomized to occlusive therapy with either duct tape or moleskin. Blinding was accomplished by having the duct tape applied to the interior (adhesive) side of the moleskin, keeping the external surface identical in both groups. The protocol involved shaving the wart with a scalpel, applying the pad for a week, then debriding it lightly with an emery board and reapplying the pad for I additional week. This was repeated for a total of 2 months or until the wart resolved.

Patients were called 6 months later to see if the wart had recurred. Groups were similar at baseline (mean age=54 years, 72% male) and analysis was by intention to treat; 5 patients in each group were lost to follow-up. At the end of the initial 2-month treatment period, there was no difference in the likelihood of wart resolution (21% vs 22%) or recurrence.

Copyright@ 1995-2007 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.


Duct tape was no more or less effective than the moleskin used for purposes of double-blinding

Wenner R, Askari SK, Cham PM, et al. Duct tape for the treatment of common warts in adults: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Arch Dermatol 2007; 143:309-313.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:POEMs[R]
Author:Wenner, R.; Askari, S.K.; Cham, P.M.
Publication:Journal of Family Practice
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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