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May 1976

Erythromycin: A Nonsensitizing Topical Antibiotic

Author Affiliations

Woodside, NY

Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(5):732. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630290074025

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To the Editor.—  Now that topically applied erythromycin is being used in certain centers for the therapy of acne vulgaris, I have had several inquiries as to the safety of such medication and whether topically applied erythromycin is a sensitizer. To my knowledge, there has not been a single authenticated report of allergic contact sensitivity to erythromycin or a positive patch test reaction to this antibiotic.In the past five years, I have repeatedly applied erythromycin in petrolatum to more than 60 patients with stasis ulcers or infected stasis eczemas without encountering a single instance of allergic sensitivity. Stasis ulcers and eczemas are, of course, notorious for being readily sensitized by many topical applications. It is, therefore, surprising that I have not encountered any sensitization from this antibiotic.I would appreciate any reports proved by positive patch test of allergic sensitivity to topical administration of erythromycin. A. Kligman, MD, in

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