IgE-mediated hypersensitivity to chlorhexidine among first-year dental students

  • Sobrina Mohamed Khazin
  • Dalia AbdullahEmail author
  • Amy Kia Cheen Liew
  • Nor Adilah Harun
  • Noormalin Abdullah
  • Bun San Chong
original article



To investigate immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated hypersensitivity to chlorhexidine (CHX), and association between CHX exposure and serum specific IgE (SIgE) levels, among first-year dental students.


Participants completed a questionnaire on medical health, history of allergies/hypersensitivities and CHX exposure. A sample of venous blood (3 mL) was drawn and subjected to SIgE test to CHX; sensitisation defined as SIgE level of ≥0.10 kUA/L.


Fifty-eight (98.3%) participants, consisting of 69% (n = 40) female with a mean age of 21, were recruited; three quarters (84%) reported no known health issue, and over half had no history of allergies (57%); less than 20% reported having had exposure to CHX-containing products with the majority from toothpaste (9%) and mouthwash (12%). The CHX SIgE test showed that 8.6% (n = 5) were sensitised. No association between CHX exposure history and the level of SIgE antibody was noted.


Although most participants reported no known exposure to CHX, 8.6% showed CHX sensitisation suggesting unknown exposure and the potential risk of developing hypersensitivity and adverse reactions in the future.


ImmunoCAP test IgE-mediated Occupational health Sensitisation Serum specific 



American Association of Anaesthesiologists




Fundamental Research Grant Scheme


Healthcare worker


Immunoglobulin E


International Islamic University Malaysia


Institute of Medical Research


IIUM Research Ethics Committee


Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency


Serum specific IgE



We would like to thank the Allergy and Immunology Research Centre, Institute of Medical Research (IMR), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the use of their allergy laboratory.


This study was funded by Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS/1/2015/SKK14/UKM/02/1).

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

S.M. Khazin, D. Abdullah, A.K.C. Liew, N.A. Harun, N. Abdullah and B.S. Chong declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Research Ethics Committee (IREC no.: 770) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Medizin Verlag GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sobrina Mohamed Khazin
    • 1
  • Dalia Abdullah
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  • Amy Kia Cheen Liew
    • 2
  • Nor Adilah Harun
    • 1
  • Noormalin Abdullah
    • 3
  • Bun San Chong
    • 4
  1. 1.Kulliyyah of DentistryInternational Islamic University MalaysiaBandar Indera MahkotaMalaysia
  2. 2.Faculty of DentistryUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaJalan Raja Muda Abdul AzizMalaysia
  3. 3.Allergy & Immunology Research CentreInstitute for Medical ResearchJalan PahangMalaysia
  4. 4.Institute of Dentistry, Barts & The London School of Medicine and DentistryQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Centre for Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of DentistryUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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