Nine out of ten patients with a history of penicillin allergy are NOT allergic to it. Reporting a history of penicillin allergy can lead to longer hospitalizations, higher costs, greater risks of adverse events to other antibiotics and increased rates of serious antibiotic resistance. It is very important that children and adults who are considered penicillin allergic get tested to for the allergy.
At Asthma & Allergy Associates we strongly recommend penicillin allergy testing for those who report a history of allergy to penicillin. The penicillin allergy test can be done quickly and without pain. We use the traditional allergy skin prick test and intradermal testing. If the skin testing is negative then we can perform an oral challenge to a penicillin-type antibiotic in the office at the same visit.
The American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Pediatrics and multiple national and international organizations agree with this approach to a patient with a history of penicillin allergy.