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Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Dec 27;18(1). pii: E42. doi: 10.3390/ijms18010042.

Lifetime Increased Risk of Adult Onset Atopic Dermatitis in Adolescent and Adult Patients with Food Allergy.

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Department of Food Science, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 912, Taiwan.
Department of Public Health and Environmental Medicine, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan.
Department of Medical Research, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan.
Department of Dermatology, National Yang Ming University College of Medicine, Taipei 112, Taiwan.
Department of Dermatology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung 813, Taiwan.
Department of Dermatology, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung 833, Taiwan.


Food allergy can result in life-threatening anaphylaxis. Atopic dermatitis (AD) causes intense itching and impaired quality of life. Previous studies have shown that patients with classical early-onset AD tend to develop food allergy and that 10% of adults with food allergies have concomitant AD. However, it is not known whether late-onset food allergy leads to adult-onset AD, a recently recognized disease entity. Using an initial cohort of one-million subjects, this study retrospectively followed-up 2851 patients with food allergy (age > 12 years) for 14 years and compared them with 11,404 matched controls. While 2.8% (81) of the 2851 food allergy patients developed AD, only 2.0% (227) of the 11,404 controls developed AD. Multivariate regression analysis showed that food allergy patients were more likely to develop AD (adjusted hazard ratio = 2.49, p < 0.0001). Controls had a 1.99% risk of developing AD, while food allergy patients had a significantly higher risk (7.18% and 3.46% for patients with ≥3 and <3 food allergy claims, respectively) of developing adult-onset AD. This is the first study to describe the chronological and dose-dependent associations between food allergy in adolescence and the development of adult-onset AD.


atopic dermatitis; cohort study; food allergy

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