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Summary

A retrospective review of patch test results from all new patients with venous leg ulcers was performed for the preceding 11 months. Eighty one patients referred from general practitioners and district nurses with venous stasis ulcers were included. Positive patch tests were found in 54 patients (67%), including a continued high incidence of allergy to lanolin and topical antibiotics. Multiple allergies were found in 48 patients (58%). In addition, a new problem of allergy to cetearyl alcohol, a constituent of commonly used creams and paste bandages, was identified in 13 patients. There is a continuing high incidence of contact sensitivity in patients with venous stasis ulcers which has important implications for the management of these patients.