BACKGROUND: Contact dermatitis (CD) is a common occupational disease. There have been no systematic reviews of CD treatment or prevention.
METHODS: Multiple databases were systematically searched. Using independent double review and published quality review criteria, articles were rated as good, fair, or poor. Treatment benefit data were tabulated and conclusions were based on the rated strength of published evidence.
RESULTS: In all, 49 studies met inclusion criteria. Barrier creams containing dimethicone or perfluoropolyethers, cotton liners, and softened fabrics prevent irritant CD. Lipid-rich moisturizers both prevent and treat irritant CD. Topical skin protectant and quaternium 18 bentonite (organoclay) prevent rhus dermatitis. Diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (chelator) cream prevents nickel, chrome, and copper dermatitis. Potent or moderately potent steroids effectively treat allergic CD. There were no macrolide immunomodulator trials that met inclusion criteria. This review did not include studies of children, animals, or non-English language publications.
CONCLUSIONS: A limited number of interventions effectively prevent or treat irritant and allergic CD, but well-controlled, outcome-blinded studies, particularly in the area of allergic CD prevention are needed.