Duct tape and the pesky common wart

It’s pretty easy to find recommendations for duct tape to remove common warts.

But this study concludes there is “no statistically significant difference between duct tape and moleskin for the treatment of warts in an adult population.”

Here are the details.

  • 90 adults with at least 1 wart measuring 2 to 15 mm (about a half inch or smaller)
  • The volunteers used pads consisting of moleskin with transparent duct tape or moleskin (placebo) alone.
  • They wore the pads for a week and removed them on the 7th day for evaluation in the evening.
  • The process was repeated for 2 months or until the wart resolved, whichever occurred first.
  • Follow-up visits occurred at 1 and 2 months.

And the results.

  • About 22% of volunteers in each group had resolution of the target wart.
  • A third of the disappearing warts returned by 6 months.

This study deserves mention because it included long-term follow-up.

Two earlier studies reported that duct tape was no better than placebo in children or cryotherapy in children and adults after 6 and 8 weeks of treatment. Warts resolved in 21% and 85%, respectively! Unfortunately, there was no follow-up after treatment ended.

The bottom line?
Duct tape is popular because it’s an inexpensive and painless treatment for a common condition. The initial response to 6 to 8 weeks of treatments varies widely. And it appears that warts often return.

Dr. Jerome Litt is the father of “ducto-therapy.” You can read his thoughts and technique here.

Cartoon: National Geographic Kids News

3/20/07 21:48 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.