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Allergic contact dermatitis

See also in: External and Internal Eye,Anogenital,Hair and Scalp,Nail and Distal Digit,Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Contributors: Priyanka Vedak MD, Susan Burgin MD
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Synopsis

This summary discusses adult patients. Allergic contact dermatitis in children is addressed separately.

Contact dermatitis presents as either allergic or irritant in etiology. While irritant contact dermatitis represents the direct toxic effect of an offending agent on the skin, allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) represents a delayed-type (type IV) hypersensitivity reaction that occurs when allergens activate antigen-specific T cells in a sensitized individual. Consequently, whereas irritant contact dermatitis can occur after one exposure to the offending agent, ACD typically requires repeat exposures before an allergic response is noted. ACD can occur 24-48 hours after exposure to the offending agent.

Contact dermatitis can demonstrate well-demarcated borders, suggestive of an "outside job" or external contact. It can also present as a systemic contact reaction with widespread lesions when the offending agent is ingested or present in an implanted device. ACD can occur in reaction to topical agents, ingested agents, implanted biomedical devices, and airborne materials.

Related topic: Hand dermatitis

Codes

ICD10CM:
L23.9 – Allergic contact dermatitis, unspecified cause

SNOMEDCT:
40275004 – Contact dermatitis

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Therapy

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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References

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Last Reviewed: 10/03/2017
Last Updated: 02/14/2018
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Allergic contact dermatitis
See also in: External and Internal Eye,Anogenital,Hair and Scalp,Nail and Distal Digit,Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Allergic contact dermatitis : Erythema, Scaly plaque, Vesicle, Pruritus
Clinical image of Allergic contact dermatitis
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