Nickel oral hyposensitization in patients with systemic nickel allergy syndrome

Mario Di Gioacchino, Luisa Ricciardi, Ornella De Pità, Mauro Minelli, Vincenzo Patella, Susanna Voltolini, Valerio Di Rienzo, Marina Braga, Enzo Ballone, Rocco Mangifesta, Domenico Schiavino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This is the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (EUDRACT No. 2009-013923-43) evaluating nickel oral hyposensitizing treatment (NiOHT) in patients with "systemic nickel allergy syndrome" (SNAS), characterized by Ni-allergic contact dermatitis and systemic reactions after eating Ni-rich food. Methods: Adults with positive Ni-patch test, who reported symptoms suggesting SNAS, which improved after Ni-poor diet, and were positive to Ni-oral challenge were eligible. Patients were randomly assigned to three treatments (1.5 μg, 0.3 μg, or 30 ng Ni/week) or placebo for a year, with progressive reintroduction of Ni-rich foods form the 5th month. Out of 141 patients randomized, 113 completed the trial. Endpoints were efficacy and tolerability of treatment. Results: During Ni-rich food re-introduction, the 1.5 μg Ni/week group had a mean VAS score significantly higher than placebo (p = 0.044), with significant improvement of gastrointestinal symptoms (p = 0.016;) and significantly fewer rescue medications. Cutaneous manifestations also improved but without reaching statistical significance. After the treatment, oral challenge with higher Ni doses than at baseline were needed to cause symptoms to flare-up in significantly more patients given 1.5 μg Ni/week than placebo (p = 0.05). Patients reported no side-effects. Conclusions: NiOHT is effective in SNAS, in particular on gastrointestinal manifestations, with trend toward improvement of cutaneous symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Nickel allergy
  • Nickel oral hyposensitization
  • Nickel-rich food
  • Systemic contact dermatitis
  • Systemic nickel allergy syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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