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August 2013

Top Accessed ArticleDuct Tape for the Treatment of Common Warts in Adults

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JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(8):959. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.755

Wenner R, Askari SK, Cham PMH, Kedrowski DA, Liu A, Warshaw EM. Duct tape for the treatment of common warts in adults: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(3): 309-313.

As a treatment for verruca vulgaris, industrial- or contractor-grade duct tape is inexpensive and painless, attributes extolled by both lay and medical media after publication of studies with methodological limitations.1 Multiple variables, such as wart age, make therapeutic studies of viral warts especially challenging. However, the well-designed study by Wenner et al provided compelling evidence that occlusion with transparent duct tape is not an effective treatment of viral warts.2 Unfortunately, 3M did not reveal differences in the adhesive composition of transparent and original silver duct tape to the investigators until the end of the study. Transparent duct tape (used in this study) contains an acrylic-based adhesive, whereas standard silver duct tape contains a rubber-based adhesive. While only further evaluation could determine a therapeutic benefit from polyisoprene-rubber adhesive, this study unglued support for use of transparent duct tape to treat warts in clinical practice.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Miguel Ramon Sanchez, MD, Department of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine, 560 First Ave H100, New York, NY 10016 (

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Stubbings  A, Wacogne  I.  Question 3: what is the efficacy of duct tape as a treatment for verruca vulgaris? Arch Dis Child. 2011;96(9):897-899.
Van Cleave  J, Kemper  AR, Davis  MM.  Interpreting negative results from an underpowered clinical trial: warts and all. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160(11):1126-1129.