Association between atopic dermatitis and contact sensitization: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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It is unclear whether patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) have an altered prevalence or risk for contact sensitization. Increased exposure to chemicals in topical products together with impaired skin barrier function suggest a higher risk, whereas the immune profile suggests a lower risk.


To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between AD and contact sensitization.


The PubMed/Medline, Embase, and Cochrane databases were searched for articles that reported on contact sensitization in individuals with and without AD.


The literature search yielded 10,083 citations; 417 were selected based on title and abstract screening and 74 met inclusion criteria. In a pooled analysis, no significant difference in contact sensitization between AD and controls was evident (random effects model odds ratio [OR] = 0.891; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.771-1.03). There was a positive correlation in studies that compared AD patients with individuals from the general population (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.23-1.93) but an inverse association when comparing with referred populations (OR 0.753, 95% CI 0.63-0.90).


Included studies used different tools to diagnose AD and did not always provide information on current or past disease. Patch test allergens varied between studies.


No overall relationship between AD and contact sensitization was found. We recommend that clinicians consider patch testing AD patients when allergic contact dermatitis is suspected.

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