Nowadays, it can seem like just approximately everyone has a food allergy. But according to a new study, published in JAMA Network Open, about 11% of American adults in fact do.
Thus far 19% of adults believe that they have a food allergy, even though some do not have the diagnosis or symptoms.
Most of the people in the US who have a recognized penicillin allergy on their medicinal record may not really be allergic. These people are mostly foregoing the best, safest, and cost-effective option for substitutes which can cause unnecessary complications.
The investigators are now recommending penicillin-allergic patients to consult their medics to reexamine whether their allergy is truly present or not.
Findings of the new study
A 2017 review of 24 studies found that around 95% of patients tested negative for penicillin allergy and as an alternative could be treated with the antibiotic.
The current review is an association among doctors and three medical boards on the basis of evidence collected over the years. They now propose adjustments to how penicillin allergies are assessed and detected.
According to the researchers of the study, many described penicillin allergies are recognized during childhood, when it is by far the commonly given antibiotic. In case penicillin is given for what is actually a viral instead of a bacterial infection, a rash which develops may be due to the virus but attributed to a penicillin allergy. This is then documented in the chart of the patient and never interrogated again.
This can cause patients not receiving penicillin or other related drugs, even when it is the best treatment option to them at that time. Along with this many other alternatives can also lead to an increased infection risk such as C. difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
But this does not say that penicillin allergies don’t exist – they do. Patients actually allergic can develop wheezing, anaphylaxis, hives, shortness of breath, and other life-threatening responses. The cogency of the allergy is not in question but the quality of its screening is. The research team assumes the allergy is too largely applied in the US, with around 10% of Americans apparently allergic.
One of the researchers reported that if I had my way, penicillin allergy verification would be on many checklists, similar to age-related screenings and vaccinations. Assessing a penicillin allergy, irrespective of the current antibiotic need can lead to important welfares for our patients.
The final word
Researchers hope that parents of children with penicillin allergy are well aware that the label may be incorrect. And they can be further evaluated.
Such a continuation may involve allergy skin testing, observed by a doctor, preferably when the patient is fit. Please do not ever try to test your penicillin allergy by yourself.
Through routine evaluation of such allergies, patients will not unnecessarily avoid the beta-lactams. These may be the finest treatment for their infection and help reduce antibiotic resistance development.