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Fentichlor Photocontact Dermatitis: A Persistent Enigma

Wolverton, Jay E. BS; Soter, Nicholas A. MD; Cohen, David E. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/DER.0b013e318284da45

Background Fentichlor elicits high rates of positive photopatch test reactions despite its currently unknown clinical relevance.

Objectives The aims of this study were to provide a comprehensive review of fentichlor, to investigate the characteristics of patients with photosensitivity to fentichlor, and to explore the current uses of fentichlor.

Methods A review of photopatch test studies involving fentichlor was performed. A retrospective chart review was conducted in patients with positive photopatch test reactions to fentichlor at our institution. Product inquiries were placed to manufacturers of fentichlor to elicit the current uses of fentichlor.

Results In selected photopatch test studies, positive reactions to fentichlor occurred in 0.0% to 11.8% of subjects. We found that 25 companies distribute or manufacture fentichlor worldwide, which includes 2 companies that sell 25-kg drums of fentichlor. The most common current uses of fentichlor are in research, in high throughput screening, and in antibacterial and antifungal creams.

Conclusions Our review of selected photopatch test studies demonstrates that fentichlor remains a potent photosensitizing allergen worldwide. The bulk quantities of fentichlor available for sale and the current uses of fentichlor suggest that fentichlor may be currently incorporated into consumer products. We recommend that fentichlor remain in the standard series of photopatch test allergens.

From the Photomedicine and the Occupational and Environmental Dermatology Sections, Skin and Cancer Unit, The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University, New York, NY.

Address reprint requests to David E. Cohen, MD, MPH, 530 First Ave, 7R, New York, NY 10016. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2013 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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