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June 1985

Is Benzyl Alcohol an Allergen?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Columbia Skin Clinic Suite 502 3321 Medical Park Rd Columbia, SC 29203

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(6):715. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660060027010

In Reply.—  My article contained a table of other injectable solutions that contain benzyl alcohol as a preservative, which was based on data provided to me by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is noteworthy in that this agent has wide usage in a variety of compounds. It does not mean that one should assume that a reaction to a preparation containing benzyl alcohol was due to benzyl alcohol, but only consider it among all ingredients as a possible contender.Five percent benzyl alcohol in petrolatum was chosen as the patch testing concentration because it is a recommended testing concentration for benzyl alcohol.1,2 The patient was also tested to the complete product itself, which contained 1% benzyl alcohol. Her reaction at the patch testing sites to the 5% benzyl alcohol was moderately severe and typical of contact allergy. I feel very comfortable with the conclusion that the patient