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April 15, 1968

Neomycin Sensitivity

Author Affiliations

USNR; FPO San Francisco

JAMA. 1968;204(3):272. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140160082031

To the Editor:—  I read with interest the article by Davis et al on "The Value of Neomycin in a Neomycin-Steroid Cream" (203: 298, 1968). Their conclusion (ie, that neomycin added to a topical steroid does not increase its efficacy in pyogenic bacterial infections and further may encourage the emergence of neomycin-resistant strains of staphylococci) is certainly worthy of wide attention.The authors make a second point, which is worthy of emphasis: Allergic sensitivity to neomycin has been observed and is an additional hazard in its topical use. A review of "Hypersensitivity Skin Reactions Due to Neomycin"1 stressed first, that contact allergy to neomycin is quite common; second, the steroid in the combination preparation does not block such allergic reactions; third, reactions to neomycin may convert a nonspecific dermatitis to an allergic contact dermatitis with little change in signs or symptoms; and, last, once sensitization to neomycin has occurred,