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Duct tape ineffective for warts in children

Is duct tape effective in treating warts in children?

Is duct tape effective in treating warts in children?


In this study, 103 children aged four to 12 with warts were randomly assigned to apply duct tape or a placebo (corn pads).

The duct tape was applied and left on for seven days followed by removal, soaked with warm water, and rubbed with a pumice stone. This regimen was repeated six times over the six-week treatment period.

The placebo was a corn pad placed overnight, with once-weekly soaks and pumice stone rubs.

The main outcome – wart resolution – was assessed via intention to treat by a researcher unaware of the treatment. After six weeks, the wart had disappeared in 16 per cent of children treated with duct tape and 6 per cent of children treated with corn pads.

Although this difference had a 12 per cent probability of being due to chance, the study had less than 30 per cent power to detect this difference. If this difference was not due to chance, one would need to treat only 10 children with duct tape for six weeks to remove one wart.

Most of the patients (81 per cent) noted the duct tape would not stick to their skin and 32 per cent used extra fixation material.

A small, flawed study found duct tape as effective as cryotherapy (Arch Pediatr Adol Med 2002;156:975-7).

Level of evidence

2b (see loe.cfm)


de Haen M et al. Efficacy of duct tape vs placebo in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (warts) in primary school children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2006;160:1121-5.

Bottom line: In this underpowered study, duct tape appeared to be no more effective than corn pads in treating warts.

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