The Medical Necessity of Comprehensive Patch Testing

Dermatitis. 2018 May/Jun;29(3):107-111. doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000362.


Allergic contact dermatitis is associated with significant disease and economic burden in the United States. To properly manage allergic contact dermatitis, it is important to accurately identify the substance(s) implicated in the dermatitis to prevent disease recurrence. The commercially available T.R.U.E Test (36 allergens) screening panel has been reported to have a conservative hypothetical allergen detection rate of 66.0%, at most. Importantly, these calculations are based on the 78% of patients who had clinically relevant reactions to allergens present on the North American Contact Dermatitis Group screening series (70 allergens), without the use of supplemental allergens. Testing with supplemental allergens beyond a screening series can more fully evaluate an individual's environmental and occupational exposure, which may significantly increase diagnostic accuracy. Comprehensive patch testing with additional allergens in sunscreens, cosmetics, and fragrances, for example, may increase the diagnostic yield as well as the likelihood of achieving a cure if the dermatitis is chronic and recalcitrant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Patch Tests / methods*