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Dermatitis. 2009 Mar-Apr;20(2):79-88.

Positive patch test reactions to lanolin: cross-sectional data from the north american contact dermatitis group, 1994 to 2006.

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Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA.



The prevalence of lanolin sensitivity in referred patients is less than 4%.


To (1) describe patients with positive patch-test reactions to lanolin, (2) determine clinical and occupational relevance associated with reactions to lanolin and common sources, and (3) examine the frequency of co-reacting allergens.


A retrospective analysis of 26,479 patients patch-tested by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG), 1994 to 2006.


Overall, 2.5% of patients (643 of 25,811) tested to lanolin alcohol 30% in petrolatum had positive reactions. Prevalence decreased from 3.7% in 1996 to 1998 to 1.8% in 2005 to 2006 (p <.0001); 83.4% of all positive reactions were currently relevant, but only 2.5% were occupationally relevant. Lanolin-positive patients were 1.2 times more likely to be male and 1.4 times more likely to have a history of atopic dermatitis when compared to allergic, but lanolin-negative, patients (p < .0002 and p < .0001, respectively). Cosmetics were the most common source. Lanolin-positive patients were significantly more likely to be co-sensitized to another NACDG standard screening allergen (p <.0001).


The prevalence of allergic patch-test reactions to lanolin in North America patch-test populations is decreasing. Current relevance of reactions was high, but occupational relevance was low. Concomitant reactions were more common in lanolin-positive patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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