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Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Oct;5(5):425-8.

The role of atopy patch tests in the diagnosis of allergy in atopic dermatitis.

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Department of Dermatology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.



Recent literature on the atopy patch test, published since 2004, is reviewed to evaluate whether the pathomechanism of the test has become more evident and whether previous studies require standardization.


There is evidence accumulating that a smaller subset of patients with atopic dermatitis show only atopy patch test positivity while specific IgE to the same allergen remains negative. It is possible that local IgE-mediated reactions occur in the skin. New data bring us a step forward in understanding the role of the atopy patch test in diagnosis of allergy in atopic dermatitis but no comprehensive studies were published during the period reviewed.


Despite recent advances in determining the value and indication for use of the atopy patch test in atopic dermatitis, more objective studies are needed. The atopy patch test may be useful in understanding the mechanisms of atopic allergy, and in defining the clinical relevance of the airborne allergens in eliciting dermatitis. Regarding food allergy, the atopy patch test still requires standardization. To date, methodology differs in all published papers; even the gold standard, the challenge test itself, is not appropriately standardized, which makes the interpretation of results less reliable.

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