File this in the “What were they thinking category?”

There’s some anecdotal evidence and some from clinical trials that household duct tape is an effective treatment for plantar warts. Now a “gold standard” double-blind controlled trial has been published in the Archives of Dermatology and summarized on MedPage Today. Their conclusion: duct tape doesn’t work.

In the study, 90 adult volunteers with at least one wart measuring from 2 mm to 15 mm were randomized to get either pads consisting of moleskin with transparent duct tape or moleskin alone…

Transparent duct tape? The researchers said they used transparent duct tape to preserve the blinding, believing that:

…it contained the same rubber-based adhesive as the standard silver tape.

Later, however, the manufacturer said that in fact the adhesive was acrylic-based, like that used in the moleskin. “It is possible that the rubber-based adhesive or other components of an adhesive not found on our study tape are required for effective treatment of warts,” the researchers said.

As a commenter noted:

A glaring flaw is that the tape used is not even the same as household duct tape. This study proves nothing, other than the researchers did not design a good study. Moleskin works the same as moleskin. Who would have thought…

And another said:

Had they purchased the commonly available silver duct tape, their results might have been quite different. I don’t know… and neither do the researchers who conducted this experiment. What were they thinking? One can only begin to guess how much time and effort it took them to locate the clear product they used in this experiment. They must have been particularly careful to find a product that isn’t silver, isn’t opaque, doesn’t use the same adhesive and is unobtainable through the usual channels that a consumer might use to purchase “duct tape”. The only useful knowledge gained from this expenditure of time, money and talent is that there actually are two adhesive tapes that look like mole tape, neither of which remove moles. Amazing.

March 21, 2007

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