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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002 Sep;110(3):500-6.

Effect of mattress encasings on atopic dermatitis outcome measures in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study: the Dutch mite avoidance study.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands.



House dust mite (HDM) allergen might induce and maintain atopic dermatitis (AD). Reduction of allergen load by applying encasings might improve the clinical symptoms of AD.


We sought to investigate, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, whether reducing HDM allergen levels by using mattress, duvet, and pillow encasings for 12 months will result in improvement in AD symptoms.


Patients with AD (8-50 years old and allergic to HDM), having a Leicester sign score (a dermatitis score) of at least 1% extent and a severity score of 6 points or greater, were randomly allocated to an active (n = 45) or a placebo allergen-avoidance group (n = 41). Avoidance measures consisted of applying HDM-impermeable encasings for mattresses, pillows, and duvets for the active treatment group and cotton encasings for the placebo group. Effect on allergen concentrations (Der p 1 and Der p 1 plus Der f 1), Leicester sign score extent and severity, visual analogue scale scores for itching and sleeplessness, intradermal test results, atopy patch test results, total serum IgE levels, anti-Der p 1-specific IgE levels, and total blood eosinophil counts were studied.


The active encasings reduced the Der p 1 allergen concentration in the mattress after 12 months with a factor 2.1 (P =.007) and the Der p 1 plus Der f 1 allergen concentration with a factor of 2.5 (P =.005); no significant change in allergen concentrations in mattresses was seen in the placebo group. Although the decrease in allergen load was significant, no differences in treatment-induced changes were seen between the placebo and active groups.


Use of HDM-impermeable encasings resulted in a significant decrease in Der p 1 and Der p 1 plus Der f 1 allergen concentrations. However, this reduction in allergen load did not result in significant changes in clinical parameters between the groups. Reduction of allergens in other environments (work, school, and outdoors) might be equally important in improving symptoms of AD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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