Type-IV sensitization profile of individuals with atopic eczema: results from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK) and the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group (DKG)

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The role of atopic eczema (AE) as risk factor for the development of allergic contact dermatitis is discussed controversially, as well as its influence on patch test results due to increased irritability. In this study, we analysed the pattern of positive patch test results to most frequent contact allergens in patients with AE (n = 9020) and age matched nonatopic (n = 15 263) individuals. The pattern and the frequencies of the observed sensitizations did not differ greatly from nonatopic individuals. Bufexamac is an exception: in AE patients sensitization is observed three times more often. For the other substances tested only minor differences were detected. Moreover, the frequencies of single, double or polyvalent sensitizations were nearly identical between the two groups. The analysis of the anatomical sites of dermatitis shows differences between the groups: in AE patients, the face (7.2%) and hand dermatitis (6.6%) was more common, and leg dermatitis (4.0%) less common. Analysis of occupation, suspected allergen source, and accompanying factors revealed no major differences between the both groups. Conclusion: The chronic and long-term exposure to external drugs and emollients presumably carries a risk for sensitization against specific contact allergens in AE patients. However, the sensitization of contact allergens differs surprisingly little between patients with or without AE.

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