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Allergy Testing

American College of Physicians*
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Requests for Reprints: Linda Johnson White, Director, Department of Scientific Policy, American College of Physicians, 4200 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

*This paper was authored by Paul VanArsdel, Jr., MD; and Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH; and was developed for the Health and Public Policy Committee by the Clinical Efficacy Assessment Subcommittee: Paul F. Griner, MD, Chairman; Charles C. Smith, Jr., MD; Paul Calabresi, MD; Lockhart B. McGuire, MD; Earl P. Steinberg, MD; Harold J. Sox, Jr., MD. Members of the Health and Public Policy Committee were: Richard G. Farmer, MD, Chairman; Michael A. Nevins, MD; Charles E. Lewis, MD; Joseph E. Johnson III, MD; Paul F. Griner, MD; John M. Eisenberg, MD; F. Daniel Duffy, MD; Donald L. Feinstein, MD; C. S. Lewis, Jr., MD; Steven A. Schroeder, MD; Quentin D. Young, MD. This paper was approved by the Board of Regents on 29 February 1988.

Ann Intern Med. 1989;110(4):317-320. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-110-4-317
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This excerpt has been provided in the absence of an abstract.

The identification of those allergenic substances that may be responsible for producing or aggravating diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema, urticaria, anaphylaxis, and gastrointestinal reactions is frequently important for effective patient care. Most allergens trigger symptoms by reacting with specific IgE antibodies on mast cells and basophils in target tissues, resulting in the release of potent vascular and smooth muscle-reacting mediators such as histamine and leukotrienes, and generation of inflammation with infiltration by lymphocytes and eosinophils.

Sometimes the allergen responsible for an allergic reaction is obvious from the patient's history. If not, testing may be advisable to identify the


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