Allergen of the Year for 2010 Announced

from the American Contact Dermatitis Society annual meeting, Miami Beach

Drum roll please … the American Contact Dermatitis Society has named the antibiotic neomycin as Allergen of the Year for 2010.

Courtesy flickr user project 365 under common license

“It’s a very common allergen and raises a number of issues when someone patch tests positive to it. We thought it is something the general public and dermatologists should be aware of,” said Dr. Donald Belsito, a dermatologist in private practice in Shawnee, Kans., when making the announcement.

A positive patch test can take 7 days or more to develop, so have patients return or counsel them on what to look for, Dr. Belsito said.

He noted that there are a couple things to keep in mind when making the diagnosis of neomycin allergy.

First, many vaccines contain neomycin as a preservative. The risk to benefit considerations need to include the likely worst-case scenario–an eczematous rash–if a sensitive patient receives a vaccine containing neomycin. Contrast that with the likely worst-case scenario–contraction of a potentially lethal disease–if the sensitive patient avoids vaccination. Discuss. And don’t forget to bring the patient’s primary care doctor into the conversation, Dr. Belsito counseled.

Second, neomycin-sensitive patients can have cross reactivities to other aminoglycocides. Think kanamycin, tobramycin and others, said Dr. Belsito, who had no relevant financial disclosures.

Neomycin is more of a household name than last year’s Allergen of the Year, mixed dialkyl thioureas. My colleague Bruce Jancin described last year’s winner and patients’ reactions to it in a blog post one year ago.

—Damian McNamara (@MedReporter on Twitter)
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Filed under Allergy and Immunology, Dermatology, Drug And Device Safety, Family Medicine, IMNG, Infectious Diseases, Primary care, The Mole

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