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The Value of Skin Testing for Penicillin Allergy in an Inpatient Population: Analysis of the Subsequent Patient Management

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Abstract:

It was decided to assess the value of skin testing in a group of inpatients with a remote history of penicillin allergy, in terms of whether or not beta-lactams were subsequently given, if any adverse reactions occurred as a result of this therapy, and if labeling of the patient record was changed subsequent to skin testing and/or challenge. All patients seen in consultation with a history of penicillin allergy were assessed. When done, skin tests were performed with the major and minor determinants of penicillin and semisynthetic penicillins. Charts were reviewed after discharge in terms of the antibiotics given during admission, adverse events, and the medical record and hospital database labeling for drug allergy at discharge. Skin testing was carried out in 79% of 67 patients assessed and in all, the tests were negative. Beta-lactam therapy was recommended in 5/153 patients but was given in only 57% of these cases. At discharge, 49% of patients' records still carried the penicillin allergy label, despite negative skin testing and/or successful completion of a course of beta-lactam therapy. So, in approximately half of the patients reviewed, beta-lactams were not given despite negative skin tests and a recommendation to do so, if indicated, and 49% of patients were still inappropriately labeled as being penicillin-allergic on discharge.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2500/108854100778248269

Publication date: September 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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