Background: Isopropyl alcohol is a secondary alcohol, a structural isomer of propanol, that is widely used as an industrial solvent and as a preservative and antiseptic in the clinical environment. It is known to be a mild irritant for the eyes and mucous membranes, but is considered to be a weak and infrequent sensitizer.
Objectives: To show that isopropyl alcohol should be considered as a potential allergen in patients with eczema who have contact with this substance.
Materials and methods: We present a series of 1450 patients patch tested with isopropyl alcohol during the period 1992-2011.
Results: Forty-four patients showed an allergic response to isopropyl alcohol. Four cases presented as occupational hand eczema. Fourteen cases were seen in patients with leg ulcers. Twenty-six patients presented with eczematous lesions following the use of products containing isopropyl alcohol to disinfect previous skin lesions. Eighty-four per cent of the patients showed sensitization to three or more allergens. Relevance was present in 84% of the patients.
Conclusions: We report here the first large case series of contact allergy to isopropyl alcohol, which demonstrates that sensitization to this substance might not be as uncommon as previously thought.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.