Background: It is generally believed that the more patients know about an allergen and where it is found, the better the prognosis is for allergic contact dermatitis. Objective: This study sought to evaluate retention of information and compliance with therapeutic directives and determine whether they correlated with the course of dermatitis in patients allergic to formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasers diagnosed in the preceding 5 months to 2 1 2 years. Methods: Twenty-two patients were surveyed by telephone, and each patient was asked to return for repeat patch testing. Results: Seventeen patients (77%) said they had persistent dermatitis, but of these, 15 (88%) believed they were improved. Five patients (23%) could spontaneously recall their allergens, and 12 (55%) could access and read to us the allergen list that we gave them. Fourteen patients (64%) always read labels, 5 (23%) sometimes did, and 3 (13%) never did. The 8 patients who were again patch tested had a total of 24 formaldehyde and formaldehyde releaser reactions; 16 (67%) were maintained and 8 (33%) were lost. No statistical relationship was found between improvement and any of the above variables, yet 91% of these patients were either improved or free of dermatitis. Conclusion: A combination of variables, including knowing the diagnosis, reading labels of products they use, and following our recommendations, explains improvement after contact dermatitis clinic evaluation.
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