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Late reactions to the patch-test preparations para-phenylenediamine and epoxy resin: a prospective multicentre investigation of the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group

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Summary Background

Late patch-test reactions, developing at day (D) 7 or later have been described for several allergens. Late reactions may reflect patch-test sensitization. Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and epoxy resins (ER) are potent allergens and therefore may potentially induce patch-test sensitization. Up to now, there has been no prospective study on the frequency of late reactions in routine patch testing with these allergens. Objectives

To assess the frequency of late reactions to PPD and ER. Patients/methods

In 1748 patients PPD (PPD-base, 1% pet.) and ER [based on diglycidylether of bisphenol A (DGEBA, 1% pet.)], and in 812 patients, nickel sulphate (5% pet.) were removed from the test panel of the standard series and applied on the medial side of the upper arm. Patch-test occlusion time was 24 h in 588 (PPD and ER) and 241 patients (nickel sulphate), respectively, and 48 h in 1160 (PPD and ER) and 571 (nickel sulphate) patients, respectively. Patch tests were read on D1–3 and D2–3, respectively; additional late readings were performed on D7, D14 and D21 after patch-test application. Patients who were not able to return for all scheduled late readings were telephoned on D7, D14 or D21, and questioned about a reaction at the test sites. Patients were instructed to perform daily self-examination from D4 onwards and to return immediately to the clinic if a reaction at the upper arm became visible. Results

Data of 1428 patients (ER and PPD) and 638 patients (nickel) were evaluable. In 25 patients (1·8%), patch tests became positive not before D7, among them 21 reactions to PPD (1·5%) and four reactions to ER (0·3%). In five of seven patients, repeated patch tests with PPD disclosed patch-test sensitization as the cause of the late reaction. All late reactions, except for one, occurred in patients in whom patch tests were applied for 48 h. No late reactions were seen with nickel sulphate. Conclusions

PPD (1% pet.) elicited late reactions in 1·5% of routine patch tests, the majority of them probably being caused by patch-test sensitization. Therefore, the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group decided to remove PPD 1% pet. from the German standard series and to take efforts to optimize the patch-test conditions of PPD. One way to optimize PPD testing could be to reduce the exposure of PPD 1% to 24 h. Alternatively the patch-test concentration of PPD might be reduced.

Keywords: active sensitization; epoxy resin; late reaction; para-phenylenediamine; patch-test sensitization; standard series

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Heidelberg, Germany 2: Klinikum Dortmund and University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany 3: University of Mainz, Germany 4: University of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Germany 5: Klinikum Krefeld, Germany 6: University of Göttingen, Germany 7: University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany 8: Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK), University of Göttingen, Germany

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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