Association between atopic dermatitis and contact sensitization: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Carsten R. Hamann*, Dathan Hamann, Alexander Egeberg, Jeanne D. Johansen, Jonathan Silverberg, Jacob P. Thyssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Background It is unclear whether patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) have an altered prevalence or risk for contact sensitization. Increased exposure to chemicals in topical products together with impaired skin barrier function suggest a higher risk, whereas the immune profile suggests a lower risk. Objective To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between AD and contact sensitization. Methods The PubMed/Medline, Embase, and Cochrane databases were searched for articles that reported on contact sensitization in individuals with and without AD. Results The literature search yielded 10,083 citations; 417 were selected based on title and abstract screening and 74 met inclusion criteria. In a pooled analysis, no significant difference in contact sensitization between AD and controls was evident (random effects model odds ratio [OR] = 0.891; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.771-1.03). There was a positive correlation in studies that compared AD patients with individuals from the general population (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.23-1.93) but an inverse association when comparing with referred populations (OR 0.753, 95% CI 0.63-0.90). Limitations Included studies used different tools to diagnose AD and did not always provide information on current or past disease. Patch test allergens varied between studies. Conclusion No overall relationship between AD and contact sensitization was found. We recommend that clinicians consider patch testing AD patients when allergic contact dermatitis is suspected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-78
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • atopic dermatitis
  • atopic risk factors
  • atopy
  • chromium
  • contact allergy
  • contact sensitization
  • eczema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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