Penicillin Allergy

Penicillin Allergy

Penicillin Allergy

Read about the facts.

There have been a large number of penicillin allergy cases reported however research showed not all cases are true drug induced allergy. Penicillin has been front line antibiotics for decades for treatment of minor to severe infection.

Penicillin allergies are due to IgE-mediated reactions to penicillins reactive intermediates, called antigen determinants. Penicillin allergy has two classification; Severe penicillin allergy and Non-Severe penicillin allergy.

Severe penicillin allergy: this normally occurs within the first hour up to twelve hours after penicillin ingestion. Symptoms are anaphylaxis, angioedema, urticarial rash and wheezing.

Non-Severe penicillin allergy: symptoms are morbilliform rash, fever, arthralgia. These symptoms starts to manifest normally after 24 hours of ingestion.  

In the event of patient showing the above symptoms, they penicillin dosage regime should be stopped immediately and symptoms treated according. In a case of anaphylaxis, adrenaline injection should be administered promptly and patient monitored closely for up to 24 hours.  Rash and hives (periodically raised and itchy spots) can be treated with oral antihistamines depending on the severity.

The most common way of establishing a penicillin allergy is the Skin Test. A tiny needle is used to administer a weak dose of penicillin in the patient’s forearm. The patient will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes for a itchy red spot like a bite. If no reaction after 15 minutes,a further dose of penicillin will be administered in the forearm and a further 15 minutes wait.

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