Using the Advanced PRE-PEN® Penicillin Skin Test, Our Expert Allergists Can Accurately Evaluate You for Penicillin Allergy
Allergy to penicillin and related antibiotics is the most commonly reported drug allergy in the United States, occurring in 10% of the population, and in as high as 30% of patients admitted to an ICU.
Skin testing with both PRE-PEN (major determinant of penicillin) and Pen-G (minor determinant representative) has revealed that approximately 85% or more of patients who suspect they are penicillin allergic are found to be skin test negative.
Greater than 97% of history positive/skin test negative patients can safely be treated with penicillin or its derivatives (e.g. Augmentin) without developing a life-threatening allergic reaction. Less than 3% of skin test negative patients may experience an immediate reaction to the oral challenge, which is rarely of a serious nature. These results underscore the efficacy of penicillin skin testing and the fact that the overwhelming majority of patients labeled as penicillin allergic were either never allergic to penicillin in the first place, or lost their penicillin allergy over time.
The skin testing procedure for penicillin allergy is easy, safe and completed in approximately one hour. Following testing, patients with negative skin test results are challenged in our office with oral penicillin or amoxicillin and observed for one hour to confirm their ability to tolerate penicillin.
Penicillin allergy commonly dissipates over time, and many histories are unreliable.
Knowing if a patient is truly allergic offers many benefits:
- Reduction in medical costs and institution of more effective, often less toxic antibiotics.
- Curtailing the development of drug-resistant bacteria: Penicillin skin testing will help identify more patients who can safely receive beta-lactam antibiotics, thus helping to reduce certain unnecessary prescriptions for broad-spectrum anti-infectives, such as fluoroquinolones and vancomycin.
- Reduce the need for penicillin desensitization: Appropriate use of penicillin testing will dramatically reduce the need for penicillin desensitization, which in the past five years has been the only way to assure safe re-treatment of history positive patients.