Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Penicillin likely safe for most who have had a prior reaction

Researchers found most people who report they are allergic to the drug have no allergy.

SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The majority of people who think they're allergic to penicillin, based on a doctor's opinion after an adverse reaction, are not actually allergic, according to a new study.

 Most people never take penicillin again, and are treated with more dangerous antibiotics and exposed to unnecessary risk as doctors look to other treatment options, researchers in the study said while presenting it at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology's annual meeting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates between three and 10 percent of Americans are allergic to penicillin, however more than that think they are and about 90 percent of people who report a severe reaction are not allergic their entire lives.

 "Anyone who has been told they are penicillin allergic, but who hasn't been tested by an allergist, should be tested," said Dr. David Khan, a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in a press release. "An allergist will work with you to find out if you're truly allergic to penicillin, and to determine what your options are for treatment if you are. If you're not, you'll be able to use medications that are safer, often more effective and less expensive."