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July 1991

`Irritants' Increase the Response to an Allergen in Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Author Affiliations

From the University Department of Dermatology, Royal Victoria Infirmary (Drs McLelland and Shuster), and the Department of Medical Statistics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (Dr Matthews), Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(7):1016-1019. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680060090010

• We studied the effect of "irritants" on the response to an allergen in 15 patients. Dilutions of allergens were applied in duplicate, and 24 hours later they were removed and sodium lauryl sulfate (11 subjects) or anthralin (dithranol) (four subjects) was applied for a further 24 hours to one set of patches. Control dilutions of irritants alone were applied. Responses were measured objectively at 72 hours. The response to both allergen and irritant was greater than to either alone. Doses of allergen, which did not produce a response when applied alone, produced a response when an irritant was added. Irritants therefore increase the allergic contact dermatitis response and may explain the presence of contact dermatitis in patients with negative patch tests.

(Arch Dermatol. 1991;127:1016-1019)

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