Patch-testing North American lip dermatitis patients: data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001 to 2004

Kathryn A Zug, Rachel Kornik, Donald V Belsito, Vincent A DeLeo, Joseph F Fowler, Howard I Maibach, James G Marks, C G Toby Mathias, Melanie D Pratt, Robert L Rietschel, Denis Sasseville, Frances J Storrs, James S Taylor, Erin M Warshaw
Dermatitis 2008, 19 (4): 202-8

BACKGROUND: The most common differential diagnoses for patients presenting with lip dermatitis or inflammation include atopic, allergic, and irritant contact dermatitis. Patch testing can be performed to identify the allergic contact conditions.

OBJECTIVE: To report North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) patch-test results of patients who presented for patch testing with only lip involvement from 2001 to 2004. Patient characteristics, allergen frequencies, relevance, final diagnoses, and relevant allergic sources not in the NACDG screening series were evaluated.

METHODS: The NACDG 2001-2004 database was used to select patients presenting with only lip involvement.

RESULTS: Of 10,061 patients tested, 2% (n = 196) had lips as the sole involved site. Most (84.2%) were women. After patch testing, 38.3% (n = 75) were diagnosed with allergic contact cheilitis. Fragrance mix, Myroxilon pereirae, and nickel were the most common relevant allergens. Of 75 patients, 27 (36%) had relevant positive patch-test reactions to items not on the NACDG series; lipstick and cosmetics were the predominant sources.

CONCLUSIONS: Patch testing is valuable in the evaluation and identification of contact allergy in patients referred for lip dermatitis. The use of supplementary allergens based on history and exposure is important in the identification of additional relevant allergens. Over a third of patients with contact allergy had other factors, such as irritant dermatitis, considered relevant to their condition.

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