Allergic or Not: Final Interpretation of Doubtful Patch Test Reactions From the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2019-2020.

Publication Date: 2024

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Margo J Reeder; Aman Nihal; Srikanth R Aravamuthan; Erin M Warshaw; Joel G DeKoven; Amber R Atwater; Marie-Claude Houle; Brandon L Adler; Jonathan I Silverberg; James S Taylor; Melanie D Pratt; Donald V Belsito; Jiade Yu; Nina B Botto; Chris M Mowad; Cory A Dunnick; Vincent A DeLeo



Doubtful patch test reactions generally do not meet criterion for positivity in patch testing. However, the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) allows for doubtful reactions to be coded with a final determination of "allergic/positive" based on the temporal pattern, appearance, known characteristics of the allergen, and/or other supportive patch test reactions. To analyze NACDG data from the 2019-2020 patch test cycle to identify patterns in the interpretation and relevance of doubtful reactions. The frequency and proportions of doubtful reactions were tabulated and analyzed for patterns. Statistical analyses were limited to allergens with ≥30 doubtful reactions to ensure adequate sample size. Of patch-tested patients, 31.9% (1315/4121) had ≥1 doubtful reaction. Of 2538 total doubtful reactions, 46% (n = 1167) had a final interpretation of "allergic/positive." The allergens with the highest proportion of doubtful reactions at the final visit were hydroperoxides of linalool 1% (4.5%), fragrance mix I 8.0% (3.9%), and cetrimonium chloride 0.5% (3.4%). Methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) 0.02% ( < 0.001), MI 0.2% ( < 0.001), nickel sulfate hexahydrate 2.5% ( = 0.001), and neomycin sulfate 20.0% ( = 0.003) doubtful reactions were more likely to be interpreted as allergic than nonallergic. Methyldibromoglutaronitrile/phenoxyethanol 0.2% ( < 0.001), oleamidopropyl dimethylamine 0.1% ( < 0.001), formaldehyde 2.0% ( < 0.001), cetrimonium chloride 0.5% ( < 0.001), benzophenone-4 (sulisobenzone) 10% ( < 0.001), iodopropynyl butylcarbamate 0.5% ( < 0.001), cocamidopropyl betaine 1.0% ( = 0.002), and benzisothiazolinone 0.1% ( = 0.012) doubtful reactions were less likely to be interpreted as allergic. Of the 1167 doubtful reactions interpreted as allergic, 84.9% had current relevance. Doubtful reactions were common and approximately one half were coded with a final interpretation of "allergic/positive." Of those, most were clinically relevant. MCI/MI, MI, nickel, and neomycin were more likely to be interpreted as allergic.


Dermatitis : contact, atopic, occupational, drug

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