Author(s): Veien NK, Hattel T, Laurberg G
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that some patients sensitive to balsams and/or fragrances obtain long-term benefits by following a low-balsam diet, whereas others do not. OBJECTIVE: This study was performed to determine whether a low-balsam diet was a helpful long-term treatment for selected patients sensitive to balsam of Peru and/or a perfume mixture and to determine whether oral challenge with balsam of Peru could predict which balsam-sensitive patients might benefit from a reduction in balsam intake. METHODS: Questionnaires were sent to 46 patients with positive patch test results to balsam of Peru and/or a perfume mixture and chronic dermatitis of a morphology consistent with endogenous dermatitis who had experienced improvement after 1 to 2 months on a diet intended to reduce the intake of balsams. The questionnaires were mailed 1 to 3 years after the initiation of the diet treatment to inquire about a possible long-term benefit of the diet. RESULTS: Twenty-eight of the 46 patients stated in the questionnaire that they had long-term benefits from the diet treatment. These included 16 of 22 patients who had reacted to a placebo-controlled oral challenge with 1 g balsam of Peru, 3 of 10 who had no reaction or a placebo reaction to the oral challenge, and 9 of 14 who had not been challenged orally. The efficacy of the diet treatment was not correlated to whether the patient had patch test reactivity to either balsam of Peru, the perfume mixture, or both substances. Food items most commonly mentioned by patients as causing aggravation of their symptoms on at least three different occasions were wine, candy, chocolate, cinnamon, curry, citrus fruit, and flavorings. CONCLUSIONS: In its present form, the oral challenge procedure with balsam of Peru offers only limited assistance in selecting patients who are likely to benefit from diet treatment.
This article was published in Am J Contact Dermat
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences