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To the Editor.—
The recent Archives report by Clark and Rietschel (1982;118:163-165) indicated that prior application of 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide ointment did not notably suppress subsequent patch test reactions to contact allergens. The authors concluded that previously applied, intermediate-strength topical steroids were unlikely to prevent the detection of contact allergy by patch testing.
Materials and Methods.—
Several years ago, we addressed this same question in a slightly different way and came to similar conclusions. Four patients with known allergies applied 2 g of 0.1% betamethasone valerate cream to one side of the back three times each day for three days prior to testing. Duplicate sets of closed patch tests were applied to the left and right sides of the back, using Altest and Dermacel tape. Serial fivefold concentrations of each relevant allergen were applied. Patch test reagents in respective patients were as follows: (1) p-chloro-m-xylenol, 1%, 0.2%, 0.04%, and 0.008%