Patch testing for allergic contact dermatitis in the pediatric population is performed at a higher rate than previously reported, but still grossly underreported, according to a study of the Pediatric Contact Dermatitis Registry.

Dr. Jacob“Pediatric dermatologists provide critical patch test services across the United States,” lead author Sharon Jacob, M.D., a professor of dermatology at Loma Linda University in California, tells Dermatology Times. “However, further studies are needed to fully understand the burden of this disease.”

Dr. Jacob’s interest in the study, which appears in Pediatric Dermatology, stems from her caring for children referred to her with debilitating dermatitis over the last decade.

“I evaluated these children for contact allergies, and then saw them get better with avoidance measures,” she says.

For the study, the Pediatric Contact Dermatitis Registry (PCDR) solicited a wide range of U.S. providers to join the registry by completing an online 11-question registration survey.

“The PCDR is the first national registry of its kind,” Dr. Jacob says. “It is the first national registry to evaluate pediatric allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) on a large national, interdisciplinary scale within the U.S.”

Results of the survey, which consisted of 252 respondents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, confirmed that American adults and children are equally likely to be affected by allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).

“We showed that the low patch testing numbers reported in the literature did indeed reflect the paucity of data, rather than a low prevalence of ACD in children,” Dr. Jacob says. “We also demonstrated that a significant number of pediatric patch tests each year are not recorded in the literature.”

Cumulatively, survey respondents reported that a minimum of 1,726 to 4,613 children were patch tested yearly.

“This 14- to 37-fold increase in reported patch test evaluations compared to prior retrospective reports  substantiates the value of a larger and more diversified group of participants,” Dr. Jacob says.

The lack of a commercially available patch test series with an FDA pediatric indication “has not impeded patch testing in children by specialists across multiple disciplines,” Dr. Jacob says.