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Should Penicillin Allergy Skin Testing be a Thing of the PAST?

June 5, 2020

Many, many, many patients report they have penicillin (PCN) allergy. But while nearly 10% report being allergic to PCN, fewer than 1% have a true allergy. And this hampers antimicrobial stewardship efforts because clinicians are often forced to turn to agents with a broader spectrum, that are more expensive, and more likely to cause adverse effects including the development of resistance. However, determining whether a patient has a true PCN allergy is time-consuming and expensive. Historically, patients were sent to an allergist for PCN allergy skin testing (PAST) followed by oral provocation challenge (OPC). What if patients could skip past the skin test and receive a direct OPC instead? Direct OPC may not only increase patient willingness to be tested but also the feasibility of offering testing in primary care (and perhaps community pharmacy) settings.

Guest Authors:  Frank A Fanizza, PharmD, BCACP and Emily S Prohaska, PharmD, BCACP, BCGCP

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