Current trends in patch testing – new data from the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group (DKG) and the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK)

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Background and objectives

The relevance of contact allergens is subject to constant change due to changing exposures according to consumers’ preferences and legal requirements. The objective of this paper is to present trends in contact sensitization from the DKG and IVDK patch test clinics, which have led to changes in the DKG standard series (as of 1.1.2014), as well as the current legal framework which has influenced these trends and the way patch testing is performed.

Patients and methods

The patients from 56 DKG and IVDK patch test clinics from 2010 (n = 13,117), 2011 (n = 13,320) and 2012 (n = 12,529) were analyzed with regard to frequencies of sensitization (hit list) to contact allergens as well as the location of allergic contact dermatitis.


With a sensitization rate of 15 % nickel is still the most frequently recognized contact allergen. An increase can be observed for fragrance mix I (9.1 %), the preservative composition of methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) (4.5 %) and methylisothiazolinone (MI) alone (6.8 %). A decline is present for potassium dichromate from above 6 % (2007) to 3 % (2012) and for bufexamac (currently at 0.6 %). Backgrounds, legal requirements and resulting changes to the DKG standard series are illustrated.


The indicated trends demonstrate the relevance of clinical epidemiology and the “sentinel function” of DKG and IVDK with regard to public health and prevention of contact allergies.

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