2-Day (2-D) closed patch tests are often used in daily clinical practice and useful for evaluating the cause of allergic contact dermatitis. However, even when 2-D closed patch tests at appropriate concentrations are performed for suspected allergic contact dermatitis based on clinical findings, positive reactions are not always obtained. Therefore, although the use of the allergen again induces similar symptoms, a definite diagnosis cannot be made in some cases. We report a case of allergic contact dermatitis due to phenylephrine hydrochloride in eyedrops, with an unusual patch test reaction. Although the results of the routine 2-D closed patch test were negative, a definite diagnosis could be made by closed scratch-patch test. In addition, long-lasting allergic patch test reactions were observed at the positive scratch-patch test site for about 3 months. We speculated that these unusual results on patch testing in our case were associated with the degree of percutaneous absorption of causative agents. Therefore, even when 2-D closed patch tests are negative, scratch-patch tests may be indicated for patients in whom clinical symptoms continue strongly to suggest contact dermatitis.
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