Allergic Contact Dermatitis and Topical Antibiotics

J. Desiree Douglas, MPA, PA-C


Dermatology Nursing 

In This Article


Cross-sensitization occurs when a patient is allergic to two allergens that are not structurally related (Gehrig & Warshaw, 2008). Cross-sensitivity between neomycin and bacitracin is very common despite being chemically unrelated (see Figures 1 & 2) (Marks et al., 2002; Scheman et al., 2008). Patients with a neomycin sensitivity may experience a cross-reaction with structurally related antibiotics such as gentamicin (Garamycin®), kanamycin, streptomycin, spectinomycin, tobramycin (Nebcin®), paromomycin, and butirosin (ambutylosin) (Frosch et al., 2006; Marks et al., 2002).

Figure 1.

Patient at the final reading appointment reacted strongly to Neomycin, allergen #1.

Figure 2.

Same patient reacting strongly to Bacitracin #55, indicating cross-sensitization.