Objective: To determine if application of duct tape is as effective as cryotherapy in the treatment of common warts.
Design: A prospective, randomized controlled trial with 2 treatment arms for warts in children.
Setting: The general pediatric and adolescent clinics at a military medical center.
Patients: A total of 61 patients (age range, 3-22 years) were enrolled in the study from October 31, 2000, to July 25, 2001; 51 patients completed the study and were available for analysis.
Intervention: Patients were randomized using computer-generated codes to receive either cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen applied to each wart for 10 seconds every 2-3 weeks) for a maximum of 6 treatments or duct tape occlusion (applied directly to the wart) for a maximum of 2 months. Patients had their warts measured at baseline and with return visits.
Main outcome measure: Complete resolution of the wart being studied.
Results: Of the 51 patients completing the study, 26 (51%) were treated with duct tape, and 25 (49%) were treated with cryotherapy. Twenty-two patients (85%) in the duct tape arm vs 15 patients (60%) enrolled in the cryotherapy arm had complete resolution of their warts (P =.05 by chi(2) analysis). The majority of warts that responded to either therapy did so within the first month of treatment.
Conclusion: Duct tape occlusion therapy was significantly more effective than cryotherapy for treatment of the common wart.