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No more fear of allergic reaction

August 30, 2017

Dr. Jerome Leis, medical director of infection prevention and control at Sunnybrook and clinician-scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute, led a study that found hospitalized patients who had a bedside allergy skin test for penicillin are able to receive the antibiotic in tolerable doses to treat serious infections.

An estimated one in 10 Canadians report having an allergy to penicillin and consequently receive less effective antibiotics. The study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, looked at 827 patients who reported an allergy to the beta-lactam family of antibiotics such as penicillin. Patients were treated with a skin-prick test to check for signs of an allergic reaction after a small amount of penicillin was placed on their skin. If there was no reaction, then patients were given a test dose of the drug. Leis and colleagues found the preferred antibiotic was fine for most of the patients. As a result, physicians were able to give penicillin to more than 80% of people without provoking adverse effects.

The study, conducted at three hospitals in Toronto, offers evidence for the safe use of penicillin with bedside skin testing as treatment for life-threatening infections.

» Read the full story at CBC News

» Read more about the study in Bedside allergy test increases number of patients receiving penicillin