Allergic and irritant patch test reactions and atopic disease

P. A. Klas, G. Corey, F. J. Storrs, S. C. Chan, J. M. Hanifin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


This study presents a profile of patients with chronic recalcitrant eczematous disease referred by dermatologists for contact allergy evaluation. Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and irritant responses were carefully defined, as was the presence or absence of atopy obtained by history. Of 410 patients studied, 44% had no history of atopic disease and 46% were classed as definitely atopic. Among relevant ACD patch test reactors (n = 198), 51.5% had atopy, compared with 40.9% with no atopy but this difference was not significant. Likewise, among atopics (n = 189), 54% had definite, relevant ACD patch test responses while 33.9% had negative ACD (again not significant). Significance was seen in the higher mean number of positive allergic patch tests in the atopic group (2.7 versus 2.0, p = 0.0223). Irritant patch tests were highest among patients with both ACD and atopy (p = 0.0308) and the proportion of irritant responses correlated with increasing numbers of positive ACD tests. We conclude that atopics are at least as likely to have ACD as are non-atopics. Irritancy is increased in these patients with chronic dermatitis and the frequency of irritant reactions correlates with both greater numbers of ACD responses and with presence of atopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-124
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Allergic respiratory disease
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Cell-mediated immunity
  • False-positive reactions
  • Patch testing technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Dermatology


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