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Outcomes and safety of drug provocation tests

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Drug provocation tests (DPTs) are considered the gold standard for identifying adverse drug reactions (ADRs). The aim of this study was to analyze DPT results and discuss severe systemic reactions associated with them. This was a retrospective analysis of 500 patients with ADRs who sought treatment and were submitted to DPTs when indicated between 2006 and 2010. We performed DPTs according to the European Network for Drug Allergy recommendations. Single-blind, placebo-controlled DPTs were performed with antibiotics, local anesthetics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as with other drugs. Patient characteristics, DPT results, and reactions were analyzed. The sample comprised 198 patients (80.8% of whom were female patients) submitted to 243 DPTs. Ages ranged from 9 to 84 years (mean, 39.9 years). The 243 DPTs were performed with local anesthetics (n = 93), antibiotics (n = 19), acetaminophen (n = 44), benzydamine (n = 33), COX-2 inhibitors (n = 26), dipyrone (n = 7), aspirin (n = 4), or other drugs (n = 17). The results of 4 tests (1.6%) were inconclusive, whereas those of 10 (4.1%) revealed positive reactions to antibiotics (2/19), COX-2 inhibitors (2/26), acetaminophen (3/44), and local anesthetics (3/93). Two severe reactions were observed: cephalexin-induced anaphylactic shock and bupivacaine-induced anaphylaxis without shock. Four patients (2.0%) reacted to the placebo before administration of the drug. Drug provocation tests are safe for use in clinical practice but they should be placebo-controlled and should be performed under the supervision of an allergist. To confirm a presumptive diagnosis and to manage allergies appropriately, it is crucial to perform DPTs.
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Keywords: Adverse drug reaction; anaphylaxis; anti-inflammatory drugs; antibiotics; drug allergy; drug provocation test; hypersensitivity; local anesthetics; medication; nonsteroidal skin tests

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, São Paulo University, São Paulo, Brazil

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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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