Penicillin allergy testing (2150)

Key points below

What is a penicillin allergy?

An allergy is a reaction of your immune system. Some antibiotics like Amoxicillin and Augmentin are made with penicillin. Penicillin medicines often are used to treat things like ear and lung infections. Some people can have an allergic reaction to these medicines. An allergic reaction can cause a rash, shortness of breath, or wheezing.

If it’s not an allergy then what happened?

Sometimes children get rashes or hives while taking penicillins. Sometimes these symptoms are really from the infection and not from the medicine. This can lead to a diagnosis of a penicillin allergy. Penicillin allergy testing can help you know if your child is truly allergic to the medicine.

Why should I get tested to see if it’s a true allergy?

1 of every 10 people in the United States has been labeled allergic to Penicillins. This includes at least 5 million children. Penicillin allergy testing shows that almost all of these people can have Penicillin. It’s harder to treat some infections if you can’t use penicillin. It can also increase:

What type of testing is needed to determine an allergy?

The best way to test for the allergy is decided by an Allergy doctor. A previous reaction helps them decide. Often they may suggest an oral challenge in the office. Your child may need other testing first. You will be referred to the Allergy clinic.

What is the oral challenge?

If an oral challenge is needed, the patient will be given a dose of amoxicillin in the office. The patient will be watched for an allergic reaction. This will last about 1 hour.

What are the possible other tests?

Skin prick testing: This test is done on the back or forearm. A small amount of liquid allergen is put on a plastic tab. The tab is used to scratch the top layer of skin. No needles are used.

Intradermal testing: This test may be done after the skin prick test. It may find allergens that did not show up on the skin prick test. This is done on the upper arm. A small amount of liquid allergen is put just under the skin. A tiny needle is used.

What happens after the appointment?

If all the testing is negative then the patient will be able to take Penicillin. The electronic health record will no longer say they are allergic to Penicillin.

If the test is positive then the patient should avoid Penicillins. The patient’s chart will still be labeled allergic to penicillin.

Common Penicillin antibiotic medicines

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