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Overlap of atopic and contact dermatitis

Published online: July 1, 2021

Atopic dermatitis is a significant cause of morbidity, poor quality of life and public health burden. Atopic dermatitis patients have multiple possible reasons for increased risk of skin allergies, i.e. allergic contact dermatitis.

In a study published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Silverberg et al. studied 36,834 adults and children who underwent patch testing to examine how commonly patients with atopic dermatitis have positive patch testing reactions and whether these reactions were relevant to their situation.  

They found that most adults and children with a history of atopic diagnosis had a final diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis. Adults with a history of atopic dermatitis had a higher number of positive patch test reactions overall. Adults and children with a history of atopic dermatitis had different profiles of positive and relevant allergens. Supplemental patch testing series were required much of the time to identify positive patch test reactions.

This study shows that atopic dermatitis patients often have overlapping skin allergies. Patch testing is an important tool to assess for skin allergies in atopic dermatitis patients whose disease is atypical, more severe or does not respond to appropriate therapy.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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