Background. An association between Compositae sensitization and atopic dermatitis has been suggested on the basis of case reports and clinical studies.
Objectives. To describe the characteristics of sensitization in Compositae-allergic patients with current and/or past atopic dermatitis.
Patients/materials/methods. Consecutive Compositae-sensitive patients were selected for analysis if they had a history of (i) present and/or past atopic dermatitis or (ii) childhood flexural eczema or (iii) childhood eczema of any kind and a positive prick test result.
Results. Fifty-one persons (35 females and 16 males) were included. The mean age was lower and the percentage of males was slightly higher than in non-atopics. Testing with sesquiterpene lactone mix, parthenolide and Compositae mix 6% or 5% detected 96% of the patients. Occupational sensitization occurred in 22%. The sensitizing pattern did not differ much from that of non-atopics, except that dandelion was an important allergen in children. Cobalt allergy was the most frequent other contact allergy, occurring in 37%.
Conclusions. Persons with current or past atopic dermatitis may become sensitized to Compositae at any age, both occupationally and non-occupationally. They should be screened for Compositae allergy on equal terms with non-atopics, except that dandelion extract should always be tested in children. Co-sensitization to cobalt was frequent, but probably not related to the plant allergy.