Objective: To determine the role of food hypersensitivity in atopic dermatitis and to determine whether patients with atopic dermatitis who had food hypersensitivity could be identified by screening prick skin tests using a limited number of food allergens.
Study design: Patients with atopic dermatitis attending the Arkansas Children's Hospital Pediatric Allergy Clinic underwent allergy prick skin testing to a battery of food antigens. Patients with positive prick skin tests underwent double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges.
Results: One-hundred sixty-five patients were enrolled and completed the study. Patients ranged in age from 4 months to 21.9 years (mean 48.9 months). Ninety-eight (60%) patients had at least one positive prick skin test. A total of 266 double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges were performed. Sixty-four patients (38.7% of total) were interpreted as having a positive challenge. Seven foods (milk, egg, peanut, soy, wheat, cod/catfish, cashew) accounted for 89% of the positive challenges. By use of screening prick skin tests for these seven foods we could identify 99% of the food allergic patients correctly.
Conclusions: This study confirms that most children with atopic dermatitis have food allergy that can be diagnosed by a prick skin test for the seven foods.