According to Dutch researchers, duct tape is ineffective in curing warts, a view which contradicts a common theory on how to get rid of the ugly skin blemishes.
The researchers by Dr. Marloes de Haen of Maastricht University, found in a study of 103 children aged 4 to 12 that the duct tape worked only slightly better than using a corn pad, a sticky cushion that does not actually touch the wart and which was considered to be a placebo.
The researchers say after a six week period of treatment the warts of 8 children (16 percent) in the duct tape group and the warts of 3 children (6 percent) in the placebo group had disappeared, and the difference was statistically insignificant.
The researchers also found that some of the children who wore duct tape reported itching, rashes and other effects, although none of the children who wore corn pads did.
The researchers were disappointed with their findings as the tape appeared to be initially at least, a cheap and helpful alternative, especially in children, to other standard treatments.
Warts are caused by a virus in the skin, and often clear up on their own but they can also be frozen off in a treatment called cryotherapy, or burned off chemically using a strong formulation of salicylic acid.
For children in particular cryotherapy is seriously discomforting and applying salicylic acid over a long time can be difficult.
In what has since appeared to have become common wisdom in 2002, Dr. Dean Focht of Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington and colleagues reported that using duct tape on warts worked better than cryotherapy.
The Dutch team say however that Focht's study had flaws, the team apparently did not actually examine their patients to determine if the warts had disappeared, but relied on telephone conversations.