Your Relief

Am I Truly Allergic to Penicillin?

Posted by Mark Bubak, M.D. on Mar 4, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Image of a prescription bottle of penicillin

A penicillin allergic reaction can be very scary for anyone.  The results of a reaction can even be deadly. 

Unfortunately, we are finding that many patients are incorrectly labeled as allergic to penicillin or amoxicillin.  They end up getting alternative antibiotics that:

  • can be less effective
  • cost more
  • are more likely to cause side effects like clostridium difficile infections.

 

If your reaction was a rash years ago, studies are showing that easily 90% of patients are not allergic to penicillin and are able to safely take that family of antibiotics. 

This means that it could be more important than ever to confirm if you or a loved one are in fact allergic to penicillin to ensure you receive the proper medication.

How Do We Test For Penicillin Allergy?

 

Testing for a penicillin allergy is completed through a variety of steps. 

First and foremost, the allergist takes a careful history of what was happening at the time of the reaction and what the actual reaction was. 

Then, if appropriate, prick skin testing for penicillin and amoxicillin components is completed.  If the test result is negative, intradermal testing is performed. 

Typically, skin test negative patients then undergo a two-stage oral challenge with a dose of amoxicillin to prove the lack of allergy.  The allergist then gives you and your physician a report of your findings.

The testing is best done when you are well and can be off antihistamine medication.

Unfortunately, allergy testing for other antibiotic allergies is not as accurate and generally has to be done by oral challenge.

If you are allergic to an antibiotic and have a life threatening infection that only that antibiotic can cure, desensitization programs are available when they would be needed.

Working together, we can give you Your Allergy Relief!

Contact Dakota Allergy & Asthma by calling 605-336-6385 to schedule your allergy testing today.

Topics: immunotherapy, Diagnosing Allergies