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Allergy Patch Tests on Children, Adults Get Similar Results

Roughly half of children and adults referred for patch testing get a positive reaction

TUESDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Adults and children have very similar levels of positive reaction to allergen patch tests, and the frequency of irritant reaction is similar across both pediatric and adult populations, according to a study published in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Kathryn A. Zug, M.D., of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues analyzed data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) on 391 children aged 18 years and younger, and 9,670 adults aged 19 and older.

At least one relevant positive test reaction was recorded in 51.2 percent of children, versus 54.1 percent of adults, and both age groups had similar frequency of irritant reactions, the investigators found. However, 34 percent of children with a relevant positive reaction were diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, versus just 11.2 percent of the adults, the data revealed. The NACDG patch test did not test for relevant allergens in 15 percent of the children, while a commercially available skin patch did not test for relevant allergens in 39 percent of children, the researchers report.

"Nickel, cobalt, neomycin, fragrance, gold, quaternium 15, propylene glycol, colophony, lanolin, and bacitracin were the most common relevant positive patch tests reaction allergens in North American children suspected of having atopic contact dermatitis," the authors write. "The top 45 allergens with the most frequent positive and relevant reactions reported in this study should serve as a guide to patch testing in children."

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