Allergic contact dermatitis from medical adhesive bandages in patients who report having a reaction to medical bandages

Travis J. Widman, Holly Oostman, Frances Storrs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Background: Medical adhesive bandages are extensively used in both inpatient and outpatient medicine. However, few reports describing proven allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) from medical adhesive bandages exist in the literature. These reports do not adequately correspond to the frequency that patients report having an "allergy" to medical adhesive bandages. Objective: To determine if there is a chemical present in medical adhesive bandages that causes ACD in people who identify themselves as having an "allergy" to medical adhesive bandages. Methods: Twenty-six patients were enrolled and underwent patch testing with our standard trays (104 chemicals) and a customized adhesive tray (54 chemicals and 10 tapes and bandages in their whole form). Results: We were able to identify an allergen in four patients that was related to their presumed adhesive allergy (Mastisol, neomycin/bacitracin [two different patients], and cortisone-10 cream, respectively). However, there were no positive allergic reactions to the tapes or bandages or any relevant allergic reactions to our customized adhesive tray. Eight (73%) of the 11 patients who had the bandage or tape left on for 7 days had an irritant reaction. Conclusion: We feel that the perceived reactions are not secondary to ACD but instead are due to an irritant contact dermatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-37
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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