Frequency of contact allergy in children with atopic dermatitis: results of a prospective study of 137 cases

F Giordano-Labadie, F Rancé, F Pellegrin, J Bazex, G Dutau, H P Schwarze
Contact Dermatitis 1999, 40 (4): 192-5
The aim of our study was the evaluation of contact sensitization in pediatric patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). It seems that the frequency of contact allergies in the course of AD, and also the frequency of contact allergies in children, is underestimated in general. Our study has been performed by investigating 137 children with AD. The childrens' history was taken according standardized consultation guidelines and followed by a physical examination. Patch testing was performed systematically, including the European standard series, together with tixocortol pivalate, budesonide and the applied emollient. If necessary, optional patch tests were performed according to the child's history. The results demonstrate contact sensitization in 43% of all children tested. The most frequent contact allergens are: metals (19.3%), fragrance (4.4%), balsam of Peru (2.6%), lanolin (4.4%), neomycin (2.6%) and emollients (2.6%). No contact sensitization to corticosteroids nor any induction of active sensitization were seen. Statistical analysis demonstrates that the risk of developing a contact allergy is significantly elevated in children after the age of 5 years. Female sex is a risk factor only for nickel. Age of onset of AD or its severity is not associated with the development of contact allergy. In conclusion, the results indicate the necessity of performing systematic patch testing in the investigation of allergies in children with AD. Preventive measures from an early age are suggested to avoid exposure to the most frequent contact allergens.

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