Prick testing with chemicals in the diagnosis of occupational contact urticaria and respiratory diseases

Little is known about the use of prick tests with chemicals in diagnosing occupational diseases. In the present study, the authors evaluated the use of prick tests in the diagnosis of occupational contact urticaria, asthma and rhinitis caused by chemicals (undertaken at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health). the authors retrospectively reviewed the patient and test files for the period 1 January 1991 to 31 May 2011. Prick tests were performed with chemical solutions and human serum albumin (HSA)-chemical conjugates. Positive prick test reactions to isocyanate-HSA conjugates were associated with isocyanate-specific IgE in all 20 patients, and 17 patients had a relevant occupational disease. Positive reactions to chloramine-T-HSA conjugates in 10 patients also indicated the presence of specific IgE, although occupational diseases were not always diagnosed. Eleven of 17 patients with positive reactions to persulfate solutions were diagnosed with an occupational disease. Methacrylates, colophonium-related substances, amine hardeners, ethanolamines, glutaraldehyde, glyoxal, pyrocatechol and ammonium thioglycolate did not elicit any relevant prick test reactions. No generalised reactions were detected. The authors concluded that prick tests can be safely used for diagnosing contact urticaria, asthma and rhinitis caused by isocyanates, chloramine-T, persulfates, and chlorhexidine, but the results should be carefully interpreted and related to clinical symptoms and other diagnostic tests.

Authors: Helaskoski E, Suojalehto H, Kuuliala O, Aalto-Korte K. ;Full Source: Contact Dermatitis. 2015 Jan;72(1):20-32. doi: 10.1111/cod.12308. Epub 2014 Oct 7. ;