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Duct Tape

ducttapeIf you’ve suffered from verrucas for a while, you may have heard of the duct tape method. Essentially, it involves cutting a piece of duct tape and covering the wart. The problem was you then have to leave it on...for a long time. I don’t think I had a piece stay on for longer than 48 hours. I guess having sweaty feet didn’t help, but if you exercise or bathe regularly this may not be the method for you. If you think it might be, read on..

The Focht Study

The method used in an infamous study in 2002 was as follows:

  • The verruca was covered with duct tape for 6 days. If the tape fell off during this time, a fresh piece of tape was put on.
  • After 6 days, the tape was removed and the verruca soaked in warm water for 5 minutes. After drying, it was then gently rubbed with an emery board or pumice stone to get rid of dead tissue from the top of the verruca.
  • The verruca was then left uncovered overnight and duct tape put on again the next day.
  • Treatment was continued for up to two months. (Note: most verruca that cleared with duct tape did so within 28 days.)

The results showed that around 7 out of 10 verrucas were cleared within two months. Should you want to read the summary of the study, click below.

Focht DR 3rd, Spicer C, Fairchok MP; The efficacy of duct tape vs cryotherapy in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (the common wart). Arch Pediatr

Adolesc Med. 2002 Oct;156(10):971-4. [abstract]

The ‘Wenner’ and ‘de Haen’ Studies

Sadly, two further studies were considerably less optimistic. The former concluded that ‘We found no statistically significant difference between duct tape and moleskin (the control group) for the treatment of warts in an adult population’ and the latter reported that ‘In a 6-week trial, duct tape had a modest but non-significant effect on wart resolution and diameter reduction when compared with placebo in a cohort of primary school children’. I have included the links for these studies below:

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 Mar;143(3):309-13. [abstract]

de Haen M, Spigt MG, van Uden CJ, et al; Efficacy of duct tape vs placebo in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (warts) in primary school children. Arch

Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Nov;160(11):1121-5. [abstract]

The evidence for duct tape is mixed. I gave it a go as it was a simple treatment and could do me no harm. Sadly, I just couldn’t keep the tape on long enough for any improvement to show. That’s sweaty feet for you!


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