Z. Assarian, R. Nixon
Patch testing (PT) is the gold standard technique for diag- nosing allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). However, there is little information about the global extent of PT undertaken.
We performed a systematic review to explore PT rates, the type of testing used and the reasons contributing to sub- optimal PT rates. Medline and Embase and other relevant databases were searched for articles examining PT rates. In four studies asking physicians (n = 1,171) about if they did PT, the rates of doing PT was 67.7% [95% CI; 46.9 –
83.2%]. TrueTest was most commonly used, followed by testing to national baseline series, using supplemental allergen series, diluting own samples and using Contact Allergen Banks. Obstacles to PT included inadequate staff- ing and costs, which were considered to be the biggest reasons for suboptimal PT rates, including the high cost of allergens and inadequate reimbursement. Lack of the expertise to interpret PT, inaccessibility to referral centres, and lack of departmental support also featured as obstacles to PT. PT rates may be increased by greater exposure of physicians to PT during training, support of PT depart- ments in hospitals and increasing patients’ awareness about PT importance. There is a great need for education in this area, for both doctors and patients.