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Contact Dermatitis. 1989 Sep;21(3):166-71.

Contact sensitivity to topical antimicrobials. (II). Sensitizing potentials of some topical antimicrobials.

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Contact & Occupational Dermatoses Clinic, National Skin Centre, Singapore.


A predictive study comparing the sensitizing potentials of some topical antimicrobials, using a modified Beuhler's technique, showed that over-the-counter (OTC) antimicrobials were more sensitizing than prescribed topical antibiotics. Among OTC antimicrobials, proflavine was the most potent sensitizer (4/10 guinea pigs); parachlorometaxylenol, benzalkonium chloride and propamidine isethionate moderate sensitizers (2/10 guinea pigs); iodine a weak sensitizer (1/10 guinea pigs); and chlorhexidine and cetrimide very weak sensitizers (0/10 guinea pigs). Among prescribed topical antibiotics, neomycin was a moderate sensitizer (2/10 guinea pigs); gentamycin and chloramphenicol weak sensitizers (1/10 guinea pigs); kanamycin, clioquinol, polymyxin B, bacitracin, tetracycline, sodium fusidate and fusidic acid very weak sensitizers (0/10 guinea pigs). There was good correlation between sensitizing potentials in animal studies and clinical experience of contact allergy to these topical antimicrobials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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